Sri Lanka President orders quick construction permits

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has asked agencies involved in approving construction permits to speed up their processes, his office said.

President Rajapaksa had met agencies under Ministry of Urban Development and Water Supply.

“Rigid regulations and time consuming process of approving construction plans pose great difficulties to the public,” his office said.

It was the responsibility of the government to minimize hardships faced by the public and simplify regulations, President Rajapaksa had said.

In some areas a person who wants to build a house has to get approval from both the Urban Development Authority and the local government body.

Some house builders who have gone through difficulties complain that unless they pay some money under the counter, approval is delayed on various pretexts. They are usually told come next week, come in three days.

Technical officers ask to draw plans for a fee and instantly approve them if they are paid to draw a plan, whether or not it is the plan that is submitted, they say.

The approval committee that meets to approve plans meets only once a week, and by pointing out various shortcomings one at a time, the process can be dragged on for weeks on end, until the person trying to build a house get tired of not paying a bribe, those who have suffered say.

Meanwhile the president’s office said he had ordered certificates of conformity (after construction) to be issued within a day as there were waiting lists. (Colombo/Jan08/2020)