Singapore’s Surbana to help re-design Sri Lanka mega city

COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Singapore will help update a plan to build a ‘megapolis’ in Sri Lanka’s Western Province which was originally conceived over a decade ago, visiting Foreign Minister K Shanmuganathan said in Colombo.

An administration from 2001 to 2004 headed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe conceived a plan to create a large metropolitan region expanding outwards from Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo to Avissawella i the north and Pandadura to the south, but it was mostly forgotted after he was ousted in 2004 elections.

Minister K Shanmuganathan met Sri Lanka’s President and re-lected Prime Minister Tuesday.

"The Prime Minister spoke about that," Shanmuganthan said. "And we said we will approach the company that put forward the plan and re-look at it.

"Of course it is now some 13 years old, the world has moved since then. It was an advanced plan for its time, but I think it needs to be updated.

"And the company that did it – Surbana – will I think make its own assessment. We will encourage it."

Wickramasinghe has said that the Colombo modernisation plan carried out by the Rajapaksa administration over the last few years was a piecemeal implementation of sections of the plan.

The plan was originally developed by CESMA International, a part of Singapore’s state-run Housing Development Corporation. The state-run firms were then restructured and the consultancy unit has now been re-branded as Surbana.

Last month Surbana was appointed to develop a masterplan for a new capital city for Andra Pradesh in India. It is also developing cities in Burma and elsewhere in India.