ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka plans to shift key government offices including that of the president and prime minister from Colombo to the administrative capital of Sri Jayawardenepura, Minister of Megapolis and Western Development Patali Champika Ranawaka said.
“We will take out of Colombo city all government institutions,” he told a public forum on the government’s Western Region Megapolis Planning Project which intends to make the western province, generating almost half the island’s economic output, more liveable.
Ranawaka said the projects aims to undertake all development activities within a systematically formulated spatial plan and prevent unplanned, haphazard urbanisation.
“We are considering a proposal to take the offices of the president and prime minister to Sri Jayewardenepura.”
Ranawaka said the decision was prompted by worsening traffic jams caused by imports of record numbers of vehicles by a growing middle class with rising incomes.
Government decision-makers were experiencing lengthy delays in travelling between government offices because of traffic, he said.
“The main reason is the rapid growth of the middle class in Sri Lanka with high expectations – they all want private vehicles as public transport is not satisfactory. There are traffic jams now on even small, secondary roads, which did not happen before.”
Ranawaka said the postal department in the Fort municipal ward of Colombo will also be shifted out of the city, despite anticipated objections from employees keen on remaining at a location they have long been used to.
“We expect opposition but from a social point of view these changes need to be done.”
(Colombo/December 01 2015)