Weerawansa highlights housing rise

Wednesday, 29 October 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

There is an increase of houses coming up on a yearly basis when one takes into account the construction of houses from 2011 onwards, according to Construction, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amnesties Minister Wimal Weerawansa. Addressing a ceremony to launch the National Housing Policy and Work Program at the Sri Lanka Central Bank Auditorium in Rajagiriya, the minister underscored the importance of working on a schedule to ease the ever increasing demand for new houses in the country., Weerawansa, who handed over a copy of his National Housing Policy Program to Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, the Chief Guest at the ceremony, observed that a work program was a necessity for a people-based project with genuine interest in them, and said that without any cost involved, his ministry was able to draw the policy plan with a staff committed to serving the public. “Perusing the pages of the past in respect to a housing policy, we call to mind the services rendered by Pieter Keuneman as Minister of Housing. He tried his best and his plans were not followed and on one earlier occasion efforts were made to draw up a housing policy plan spending a huge amount of money. But that plan never saw the light of day. But my ministry officials drew up a policy and work plan without a cent spent and I am proud to present to you the work plan drawn up by them with dedication and commitment,” Weerawansa said. Making reference to the Census and Statistic Department report for 2012, he drew the attention of the audience to the fact that up to 2011, whether it was a state or private sector business venture, all put together, only 100,000 houses have come up. But this showed a tremendous increase by 2011, when the number of new houses built was counted to be around 400,000. This increase is of very great significance as the increase in construction of houses comes in the aftermath of the internal strife which the country suffered for nearly three decades, the minister added. “We are one of the best countries in Asia tackling the housing problem. In this region, our country has the lowest number of shanties, just 123,000 shanties. Our target is to provide houses for 60,000 families by 2016 with the blessing of the President and through the able guidance of the Secretary to the Defence Ministry,” Weerawansa revealed. “We know that there are some who try to obstruct our march towards progress. But we have a strong will and the example set by those who have given their life and limb for a better future in Sri Lanka.” Secretary to the President, Lalith Weeratunga hailed the Housing Policy and Work Plan and congratulated the minister for including all necessary details and stressed the importance of taking the work plan forward, underlining the duty of state officials to carry forward the policy plan to ensure the demand for more houses was met. Prof. Ven. Bellanwila Wimalarathana Thera and Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal also spoke at the occasion.