30 September, 2020

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Ensure Transparent Development Plan For Evicted Urban Dwellers – Friday Forum

The Friday Forum recalls the government assurance that all urban dwellers recently evicted for purposes of urban development would receive adequate, alternative housing in the vicinity from which they were evicted.

Issuing a statement on behalf of the Friday Forum, Bishop Duleep de Chickera and  JC Weliamuna appealed to the Government to ensure a transparent development plan.

We publish below the statement in full;

Marginalising the Marginalised  

 Bishop Duleep de Chickera

Bishop Duleep de Chickera

The Friday Forum recalls the government assurance that all urban dwellers recently evicted for purposes of urban development would receive adequate, alternative housing in the vicinity from which they were evicted. Income from these urban development projects was to be utilised to construct suitable housing units. Therefore, the evicted persons should be benefited from the urban development projects. The fulfilment of this assurance is crucial if we are to ensure that Colombo does not become only a city for the affluent.

Friday Forum therefore welcomes the recent completion of housing units at the Dematagoda, Mihindupura scheme for these evicted urban dwellers from very low income communities.  There may be other similar schemes planned elsewhere.  Reports however of the monetary requirements of an up-front payment of Rs. 50,000/- followed with another Rs. 50,000/- within three months of occupancy, are worrying.

The government is more than aware that many of those evicted do not have access to this amount of money. They could consequently be driven into debt or corrupt deals with shadow owners. Reports that some who cannot find this quantum of money have already moved into similar communities within the city and from which they are likely to be evicted once again, are equally worrying.

Much more serious is the real possibility that those with no claims to these units but with political affiliations with the ruling parties will be given the housing that those entitled to these units cannot afford to pay for.

Friday Forum has learnt of one instance where the government has failed to implement the undertaking previously given to the Supreme Court that the evicted urban community would receive alternative housing at the Mihindupura housing complex.  Several of these persons evicted from Mews Street, Slave Island, have apparently been denied housing as initially promised and are now promised housing in another location.

With these questions and concerns in mind the Friday Forum asks the government to clarify the current status of those evicted under its urban development plan and confirm that those with no claims are not in occupation of these units. Friday Forum also urges that that the advance payment of Rs. 100,000/- be waived since capital expenditure for these units was to be met with public income from investments.  As prescribed, only a reasonable monthly rent of 3,900/- must be collected for a period of twenty years, after which the chief occupant will obtain ownership of the premises.

There has been public criticism that these evictions are being used to redefine the demography of some urban areas and therefore there is a need for transparency in selecting specific geographical areas for development as well as the process of relocation. Friday Forum calls upon the government to ensure a transparent development plan which provides for and ensures the participation of representatives of the affected communities in such relocation procedures.

Bishop Duleep de Chickera                            J.C. Weliamuna

On behalf of Friday Forum

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Latest comments

  • 5
    1

    Of the very many acts of major corrupt practises key elements of this
    Govt is alleged to have committed, throwing the very poor from their
    homes to the streets in the promise of giving them modern alternate accommodation and then reneging on this surely must be the most heartless and sinful. Creating a condition of demanding Rs.100,000 (2xRs.50,000) from those who are unable to find resources for their daily meals is nothing short of a calculated inhuman act.
    The idea is the use the failure of these people not coming out with the large sum and then making a fast buck in selling these to others
    with connections to crooked politicians. Elsewhere in these columns, there is a reference to the call for lightning to strike those committing social wrong (hena wedanne oney) As the old saying goes
    God first makes them mad whom he wishes to destroy??

    Bishop de Chickera and HR Lawyer Weliamunna perform a welcome social
    function here. For the sake of the large number of the poor involved,
    I hope they will soon succeed.

    F.N. Stein

    • 1
      1

      As a citizen, I thank Friday Forum, Bishop Duleep de Chickera and JC Weliamuna for their tireless efforts on behalf of the voiceless. I thank them for their sincerity, honesty & integrity. I would much rather have men & women of their calibre in active politcs. Rather than in toothless civic society roles. Only then, can we as Sri Lankans start the long, hardwork of building a country, we can be proud of. Cheers!

  • 2
    1

    UDA / MOD is in contempt of court, but the de facto CJ is unable to take any action against his god-father. No compensation has been paid to those evicted and they are doomed to live in the mud-hole at thotalanga. All this while the SOD boasts of an emerging garden city of asia.

  • 0
    1

    IF one notice, the planing…..MOST of those evicted are Muslims, and its being done to change the political power . It’s a known fact that these area’s are always the stronghold of the UNP, So the current regime is hell bent in making this a UPFA stronghold, thus they are evicting the Muslims and are providing the units to Sinhalese, who were NOT even in the vicinity. How come?

    • 0
      1

      My Brother Edward, ALLAH is there… dont worry, we belive a Creator who dose all in and leartn lesson for Demon Belivers… tell them to Pray.

  • 0
    3

    [Edited out] Chickera……….instead of criticising join to uplift the lives of urban dwellers… [Edited out]

    • 1
      1

      Thonda…..

      So…..you invite people to join your masters…!!?..to…

      ”uplift the lives of urban dewellers”

      You mean the way Gota lifted their lives from Colombo 02 !!?…and the way Mr.Hakkeem serves his own people by joining the criminals !!?

      • 0
        2

        Rev Devil

        Is this the same Bishop [Edited out] that used to praise LTTE when they were running a muck in SL? We should be very glad to SL Defence Forces and the SL Defence Secretary for saving the country from those LTTE blood suckers. Otherwise [Edited out] would have now been pulverised into dust with one of the LTTE suicide bombers.

        Interestingly, this [Edited out] never condemned any of those brutal activities carried out by podian Preba’s monkey army in the past.

        He is no different to the Bishop [Edited out] of Manner.

    • 1
      1

      Bishop knows how to uplift. It is better you don’t down lift your foolishness here. Perhaps the Bishop can help you uplifting people from ignorance stupidity etc these are the duties of the Church. You can get good benefit. But some are beyond repair. Good luck Keep trying never give up.

  • 2
    1

    I am very glad that a civic society organisation like Friday Forum has taken up this pressing issue. At long last a caring body of people has turned the spotlight on a serious social issue that is wreaking havoc in the lives of many helpless people from low income families. I happen to know of at least 3 such families in different parts of Colombo and its suburbs who have either built their own homes with hard earned monies from years of overseas work in difficult conditions or bought into housing schemes set up by a former prime minister, in which they thought they would be secure for the rest of their lives. Some have been threatened with dubious action should they attempt to appeal to any govt authorities or the Courts. Others have been asked to pay ONE LAKH up front after which they will (MAY) be allocated (not allowed to choose) a tiny flat for which they will have to pay out (indefinitely) Rs. 4,000 a month. Some who thought they were going to receive such flats this year are now in limbo hearing that their neighbours have been allocated new houses and the flats have been given to people from other areas. Nothing is clear, nothing is sure, except anxiety and misery. Men and women and children who have lived and worked and gone to school in these areas for many years are now wondering where they will be moved to and whether they will be able to hold down their jobs. Daily paid labourers from these areas have lost wages every time they are asked to attend meetings with officials from which they come away no wiser or happier about their future.

    Development is fine, is necessary, but first of all it must plan for the accommodation (of all kinds)& welfare of the human beings who inhabit a place. They have contributed to this country in many different ways and are not dispensable flotsam and jetsam to be tossed aside in the wake of grandiose plans for the high value lands they happen to inhabit. In many other countries so-called impermanent housing is upgraded in various enterprising ways so that the communities that have developed over many years are not callously broken up and tossed to the four corners of the world. I am not closing my eyes to the possible presence of criminal gangs and businesses in such places, but then those also exist in so called up-market schemes (viz. the brothel recently broken up in Liberty Plaza flats), and there are better ways of tackling such problems than sweeping whole communities away.

    I think of one such community in Colombo 7 (I think it is) where all 3 major communities (S/T/M) live in close proximity. One of the Sinhala families has its children having cheap English tuition from the young son of a Tamil family in the same slum. He has English O level. I have sent books to one of these families to share with others there. These people have lived together for a long long time but face upheaval and dispersal in their now unclear future.

    Maybe some of us will be happy to see larger and faster roads and swanky condominiums in these places but not all of us will be able to forget the many tragedies these developments hide.

    Thank you Friday Forum! I hope your appeal bends ears down to the ground!

    • 0
      1

      It is nice to hear you complaining, but can you please specifically state what the hell you want the government to do? Can you be specific without wailing like a wet cat? Just say “I want the government to do such and such”. Do not be a baby. Get your act together and if you think something better is possible then say what it is and say it clearly. This government does not have brains so you need to speak very slowly and very clearly and VERY LOUDLY.

  • 0
    1

    The Friday Forum recalls the government assurance……

    Yes, this will be like the many other assurances the government has given….

    Investigate the murder and rape of the British aid worker and his g/f

    Investigate any wrong doing of the army in the north

    ….the assurance to implement 13+ ……

  • 2
    2

    Friday Forum is the new face of the LTTE.

    DO exactly as they DON’T WANT.

  • 3
    1

    Settle all displaced Muslims in Wellawatte.

    • 0
      1

      First, Settle your Brain Up your As_ F-u-kushima, and then we will see about your idea !

      • 0
        0

        Fat Fu-k’s brain was in a wrong place and got drain into the commode and no more brain for settling.

  • 1
    1

    I doubt that these people are geared to what life is going to be like in the areas that they have inhabited.

    My position is that the government should treat them as owners of the land. Most of them have occupied at least 2 perches of land. This land now carries a value of about 10 million a perch so the government can buy the land from them at a 25% premium ( 12.5 million per perch)in order to compensate them for being evicted. Payment must be made through a third party in order to prevent government officials from demanding massive bribes in order to pass payment and electoral roles or other time based documents should be used in order to ensure that gangsters with political patronage cannot muscle in to grab the properties as soon as they hear that such compensation is being paid.

    The payment transaction is best made bank to bank to that details are clearly placed on record. Part of the payment may be made in government bonds or bills if so required.

    The people know what is best for them and will find themselves new residences in areas where they can establish livelihoods.

  • 1
    0

    More obvious platitudes from the home of sanctimonious platitudes! Why don’t these people DO SOMETHING about what’s going on in his ..hole of asia instead of stating the obvious on every issue?

  • 0
    0

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