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Govt. to demolish 10,000 buildings after Wellawatta tragedy


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  • 1,800 unauthorised structures in Wellawatta area
  • A survey to be conducted in Dehiwala, Mount Lavinia and Kolonnawa to identify unauthorised structures

 

In the aftermath of the construction accident in Wellawatta this week, the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development plans to take steps to remove all unauthorised buildings, including 10,000 already identified unauthorised structures. 

Critical of the ineffectiveness of government agencies tasked with monitoring and regulating  construction and related real-estate development, Subject Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka yesterday announced plans to conduct a full survey to identify all unauthorised buildings in Dehiwala, Mount Lavinia and Kolonnawa focusing on structures obstructing drainage systems in the areas. According to the Minister, from Bambalapitiya to Wellawatta there over 1,800 unauthorised buildings that have been constructed over the years. 

He also sounded a warning bell against unplanned small scale housing complexes which were built to cater to the growing demand during the war. The Minister further highlighted the seven storey building which collapsed on Thursday claiming the life of one and injuring 27 people had not followed regulations to obtain necessary approvals, nor has any Government Agency responsible for monitoring such developments taken any action to prevent the unauthorised construction from taking place. 

Ranawaka said the number of casualties could have been much higher if the hall had been hosting a wedding at the time of its collapse, and that the owners would face criminal charges.

“This wedding hall is a clear example of the dangers posed by unauthorised construction in Colombo,” the Minister told reporters in Colombo.

Initial investigations by the State Engineering Corporation have revealed that shortcomings in structural design have led to the collapse, the Minister said.

Following this incident, the Ministry has decided to pay special attention to buildings in the area to ensure that all development projects comply to standards and follow regulations, he said.


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