Leading Footwear manufacturing Group in Sri Lanka seeks an international strategic partner. The company currently enjoys a sizeable market share with $2.5 million annual sales, operates on 200,000 sq. ft. facility in three locations, 15 retail outlets, 250 employees. Range of products include sportswear, school shoes for boys and girls, men dress shoes, office wear shoes, casual shoes, herbal shoes, safety shoes and military shoes. Interested parties may send EOI to for a detailed proposal.

Profitable Business Wanted
Our Client, an Investor, wishes to acquire a profitable venture near Colombo. Restaurant, Petrol Station, Service Centre, Senior Citizen Home, Cab Service or any other profitable business. Monthly above 400,000/- Principals only please. Agency Fees payable. 0772 585878/0721 244388 email

Partly Completed Apartment Complex Project for sale Location: Colombo 6 Land side 45p Approvals for B+G+9 floors B + G & 1 - 3 floors are already completed Structure and completion needed from Floors 4 - 9 Total 32 apartments consisting of 3 bed rooms, 2 bath rooms, maid's room and toilet - Floor area 1800 sq. ft. Estimated cost LKR 200 million for the balance work For the land and work already carried out LKR 480 Million. Expression of Interest to Telephone +94 772 585878 or +94 721 244388


Colombo is fast developing. To read the full article that appears in Sunday Observer dated 28/9/2014 click this link below:

'Lanka's economic landscape emerging'
Come Home and inherit the earth - Bring quality investments that will add value to the country's skills in the labour force, the rich bio diversity and environment and its fiscal strength


1189 sq. ft. space on the 30th floor East Tower - Harbour view. Three cabins, Board room with 10 seats, reception area and pantry facility. Monthly Rental USD 4000. For private viewing call on +94721 244388

Lands wanted in Hill Country
300 - 500 acres required for a dairy farm project. Elevation above 3000 feet. Buyer ready. Perfect title expected. Contact on 0772 585878, 0721 244388.

Wanted a Colonial Bungalow for purchase
In Kandy. Cool areas like Thalathuoya, Alawathugoda, Digana, Peradeniya, Doluwa, Galagedera. Colonial bungalow with about 5 rooms and a land area of 1 - 5 acres. Must be suitable to make a Helipad. Please contact our Realtor on 0772 585878 urgently.



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Land wanted by a leading Group
Our client need 2-3 acres of land in Nungamugoda Road, Kelaniya area for urgent purchase . Land owners please contact on 0772585878 for appointments. Brokers protected.

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Partly Completed Apartment Complex Project for sale Location: Colombo 6 Land side 45p Approvals for B+G+9 floors B + G & 1 - 3 floors are already completed Piling completed by a Singaporean Contractor Structure and completion needed from Floors 4 - 9 Total 32 apartments consisting of 3 bed rooms, 2 bath rooms, maid's room and toilet - Floor area 1800 sq. ft. Estimated cost LKR 200 million for the balance work For the land and work already carried out LKR 480 Million. Expression of Interest to Telephone +94 772 585878 or +94 721 244388
Colombo is fast turning into an eco-friendly city. Compared to most other cities in the region, the metropolis is today a beautiful, greener and safer city. The latest attractions are the Colombo Gold Centre and the Floating Market in Pettah, another brainchild of Defence and Urban Development Ministry Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa. St. John's Fish Market, Pettah was moved to a more spacious location in Peliyagoda and the Urban Development Ministry redeveloped the prime commercial plot of land for a modern shopping mall to house those in the gem and jewellery trade. It is needless to state that passers-by held their breath due to the pungent odour at the old St. John's Fish Market, an eyesore to the public. Nobody thought that such filthy premises could be redeveloped into a modern shopping complex to house the new Colombo Gold Centre. Similarly, the section of the Beira Lake, adjoining the Private Bus Stand in Pettah, was literally a garbage dump as vendors in unauthorised structures dumped all their refuse into the Beira Lake. One could barely believe that such a hellhole has been transformed into a picturesque floating market. A few years ago, people even in their wildest dreams would never have visualised that Colombo would soon turn into such a clean and green city. UNP regimes cared less for town planning, permitting their supporters to build unauthorised commercial structures in Colombo at will. Most politicians turned a blind eye to such unauthorised buildings merely to satisfy their die-hard supporters. However, Defence and Urban Development Ministry Secretary cast petty party politics aside and gave top priority to town planning. He not only made Colombo, the safest city in the region but also one of the most beautiful and attractive commercial capitals in the world. Consequently, there was heavy traffic congestion, air pollution and mountains of uncleared garbage in Colombo and the suburbs. Illegal constructions had the patronage of politicians of past regimes time and again. The makeshift constructions and indiscriminate filling of marshy lands in and around Colombo, mostly by political henchmen, caused floods, traffic jams and posed a severe health hazard. Most politicians in the past turned a Nelsonian eye to this problem as they were more concerned about the people's votes. They cared two hoots about the downtrodden masses living in wretched conditions in shanties or making Colombo a cleaner city. But this is now history. The United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) Government, led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, does not work merely to seek votes, but to win the hearts of the masses by providing them a secure future. Deviating from the hackneyed politics practised in Sri Lanka, President Rajapaksa introduced a new culture where the country's sovereignty and the masses' well-being take precedence. The President is convinced that winning the hearts of people, is by far, more important than grabbing votes with loads of hollow promises at election time. This was one of the prime reasons that he refrained from making election pledges during the 2005 and 2010 presidential elections. Instead, he introduced a novel concept which would be further improved before the next Presidential election campaign. The President's Mahinda Chinthana, which he presented during the 2005 presidential election campaign, was a policy statement approved by the masses wholeheartedly. Having achieved most of the goals envisioned in the Mahinda Chinthana during his first four years in office, President Rajapaksa went before the masses again in January 2010 to seek a fresh mandate for the Mahinda Chinthana Idiri Dakma, which attracted an overwhelming response. This resulted in the President securing a landslide victory to be re-elected in January 2010. President Rajapaksa will now seek a fresh mandate to continue his policies fearlessly in the best interests of the country and its people. Upgrading infrastructure facilities is one of his prime goals and developing the capital city and the commercial capital was one of the initial steps towards the goal of becoming the Wonder of Asia. Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa has highlighted time and again that town planners need to play a major role in making Sri Lanka the Wonder of Asia. Town planning should be realistic. Co-ordination and dialogue are needed to implement town planning in a tangible manner. While ridding the city and its suburbs of shanties, the Government has provided better houses for them elsewhere. Hence, the living standards of those in the low-income groups too have been improved to solve their housing problems. A few years ago, half of Colombo's city population lived in shanties. This situation has changed dramatically and with the ongoing development ventures in the city, Colombo will soon be a shanty-free city. Colossal sums of money are needed to provide alternative houses for these families and at least three million rupees to resettle each family. All these gigantic tasks are being achieved and a new era for city dwellers has dawned. Despite some initial resistance, a few years ago, people now view positively the improved living conditions motivating others to move out of their age-old shanties. Affording a better lifestyle for these people is the top priority. In the recent past, there was a considerable number of unauthorised structures and dilapidated buildings on valuable lands in prime business locations. Most of them have now been converted to high-end shopping malls in the city with the Old Dutch Hospital Square mall, the Arcade Independence Square and the old Race Course Shopping Complex attracting a record number of visitors. The Government's vision is to develop all major cities and link them with an express road network. This is by no means, an easy task, but the Government is determined to meet the challenge and transform the cities to bring them on a par with other developed countries in the region. The extension of the Southern Expressway from Matara to Hambantota will be completed soon. Having opened the second Expressway to link the Bandaranaike International Airport to Colombo in an 18-minute drive, construction work on the Colombo-Kandy Expressway will begin before the end of this year. There has been a tremendous response to development and beautifying ventures carried out in the Colombo city and other major cities such as Gampaha and Kandy. These projects will be extended to other major cities too. Beautiful footpaths, cycle tracks, architecturally-designed roundabouts and centre islands embellished with flowers and flowerpots have transformed Colombo into an eco-friendly city, especially with the development work around the Beira Lake and Diyawanna going on apace. The Urban Development Authority is also extending its unstinted support to transform Colombo into a new-look city. Most importantly, it is not only those in Colombo who benefit due to the city beautification program, but also the myriad visitors who flock to the city daily for employment and other purposes. Private sector business institutions in the city also benefit likewise. City folk and those from the outstations must ensure to pay more attention to keep their surroundings clean and tidy and help in the Government's praiseworthy efforts.
The upcoming Free Trade Agreement with China will add value by expanding trade, investment and tourism, to the country's high value exports, technology based industries and services, enabling to strategize and promote the country's five hub economy, Finance and Planning Ministry Secretary Dr. P. B. Jayasundera said. Addressing the 19th Annual Tax Oration organized by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka) he also disclosed that the China - Sri Lanka FTA will also connect Sri Lanka to benefit from the China - Singapore FTA opening Sri Lanka to a new corridor of development. "In my view, Sri Lanka no longer, should work out business propositions based on cheap labour or endeavor to promote the transfer of land to foreigners or try to place undue reliance on tax holidays. Instead, the country should focus on quality investments that will add value to the country's skills in the labour force, the rich bio diversity and environment and its fiscal strength to promote its economy on competitive activities focusing exports. The country needs to price all its resources in a proper context. These are the lessons one must learn, having viewed successful emerging economies," Delivering his oration on the topic 'New Dimensions of Sri Lanka's Public Financial Management and Taxation in the context of Emerging Global Environment', Dr. Jayasundera also underscored the important role highly demanded professionals like chartered accountants produced by CA Sri Lanka should wisely command by making the right contribution to facilitate Sri Lanka to make a difference in the emerging economic landscape. Sri Lanka has truly got into a new wave of development with a promising economic outlook, to move rapidly towards a higher income economy over the next decade. Dr. Jayasundera also noted that a good budget, backed by a higher tax to GDP ratio for Sri Lanka, should be able to allocate an increased volume of resources in support of core public investments in physical infrastructure supported by an enabling environment that would in parallel attract private investments shifting beyond the 30 percent of GDP from the current level of 24 percent GDP. - See more at:
The government today introduced a new Bill in Parliament that if passed would stipulate restrictions on the alienation of lands to foreigners, foreign companies, or companies registered here with 50 per cent of foreign shareholding. The Bill titled: 'Land (Restrictions on Alienation)' will be taken up for debate later and passed as an Act soon. However, the provisions of the Bill will not apply to lands transferred to Diplomatic Missions under the Diplomatic Privileges Act or to a condominium parcel situated on or above the fourth floor of a building specified under the Apartment Ownership Law if an upfront payment had been paid to cover the entire value. The Subject Minister will authorised to exempt any foreign entity engaged in banking, financial, insurance, maritime, aviation, advanced technology and infrastructure development projects declared under the Strategic Development Act after the minister concerned issues regulations through gazette notifications. (Kelum Bandara and Yohan Perera)
By Namini Wijedasa Non-citizen children of Sri Lankans or non-citizen next of kin can inherit property View(s): New laws prohibiting the transfer of land to foreigners will allow non-citizen children or non-citizen next of kin of Sri Lankans to inherit property through intestacy or gift, a Cabinet paper exclusively obtained by the Sunday Times states. In 2013, the Finance Ministry issued instructions barring all transfers of land to foreigners and throwing a cloud of uncertainty over inheritance rights. While the law allowed individuals to transfer property by gift or testamentary disposition to their heirs, the Ministry directive forbade it. These and other anomalies will be righted through new legislation now held up at the Legal Draftsman’s Department. The laws will have retrospective effect from January 1, 2013. This was the date on which the prohibition of land transfers to foreigners —contained in the budget for that year — started being implemented through administrative circulars. As a result of its retrospective nature, there are likely to be recoveries or refunds of certain taxes which were levied during the transition period. “For instance, the authorities were charging a blanket 15 per cent tax on the lease of land to foreigners since January 2013,” said a legal analyst familiar with the incoming changes. “But the new law envisages a reduced land lease tax of 7.5 per cent for certain categories of companies. The difference will be reimbursed.” The planned amendments, first reported in the Business Times last week, are outlined in a six-page paper presented by the Ministry of Finance and recently approved by Cabinet. Lawyers who examined its contents said the changes were welcome but urged the Government to move faster in translating them into legislation. The Cabinet paper says the draft law is being finalised with consideration to the concerns of, among others, foreign missions and investors. The Act will prohibit the transfer of State or private land to a foreigner, a foreign company or to a company incorporated in Sri Lanka under the Companies Act where any foreign shareholding is 50% or above. Yet, there are a variety of exemptions. Transfers of land to a diplomatic mission of another State or to a dual citizen of Sri Lanka are two of them. Transfer will also be allowed to any foreign entity engaged in banking, finance and insurance, maritime, aviation, advanced technology or infrastructure development subject to approval by the Finance Minister in consultation with the Land Minister and with prior written approval of the Cabinet of Ministers. Such investors must, however, satisfy one or more of the requirements set out in the Strategic Development Projects Act — such as “substantial inflow of foreign exchange” or generation of “substantial employment”. Again subject to approval, land may be transferred to any foreign entity involved in international operations to locate or relocate its global or regional operations or to set up a branch office. These two categories are also exempt from paying the 15 pe cent land lease tax envisaged in the new law. Separately, a foreigner may acquire a condominium property on or above the fourth floor only if its entire value is paid upfront through an inward remittance simultaneous to the execution of the deed of transfer. If land is being transferred to a company incorporated in Sri Lanka on the basis that its foreign shareholding is less than 50 per cent, such shareholding will have to be maintained during a minimum 10 consecutive years from the date of transfer. The lease of land is subject to a maximum of 99 years and the payment of a 15 per cent land lease tax. The Department of Inland Revenue has been charging this tax since 2013 despite the absence of relevant legislation. Exemptions include land leases to diplomatic missions of another State and to dual citizens as well as the lease of land within a bonded area or free port. The lease of condominium property on or above the fourth floor is exempt where the duration of the lease is for 35 years or more. The lease rental must, however, be paid upfront for the full duration through an inward remittance simultaneous to the execution of the indenture of the lease. If the lease is for less than 35 years, a reduced tax of 7.5 per cent will be levied. Several other categories are entitled to the discount. This includes the lease of land in BOI areas, tourist development areas and industrial estates. Among other provisions in the proposed law is that land transferred or leased to a foreign entity cannot for any purpose be mortgaged or pledged to a bank for five years from the date of execution of the related transfer or lease. The Cabinet paper says this is to ensure that money will not be raised in Sri Lanka for such acquisition or lease, creating implications for the banking system.
By Kirthi Hewamanne Buying a condominium can be a confusing process. Many people do not know what a condominium is or the legal structure and responsibilities that are involved in owning one. When you see a brand new building, polished floors and beautifully painted walls you just get carried away. You don’t realize that you are buying just a “cube of space” (up in the air) on the seventeenth floor!!! This is exactly why you should protect yourself and the only way to do it is to make sure you carefully read the documents and get a professional to explain everything in these agreements which will tie up to protect your investments. In respect of condominiums an informed purchaser is a smart purchaser. In many developed countries most buyers deal with a sales representative with whom you are comfortable. Certain condominium projects are promoted and sold through the builder’s own sales staff while others are handled by representatives of an independent brokerage firm. Enlisting help of real estate reps In Sri Lanka we are unable to enlist the help of real estate representatives who have specialized knowledge in the condominium concept and sales. An independent sales representative who is assisting you in your new home search should have a general knowledge of the project and be able to help you find out more details. This sales representative will know how to work with the developer’s sales staff to ensure you receive proper service. Many developers in Sri Lanka do discourage prospective purchasers to enlist the help of real estate representative even though they may be specialists on the subject. However it is best that you enlist the help of a lawyer who is very conversant of condominium concept and the sales. Many lawyers do not have too much time to explain all the details of how the condominium concept works. The real work starts for the buyer after closing the transaction and moving in to your apartment. Protecting your investment is an ongoing process and all unit owners will work together to make sure your investment is safe and will appreciate in value and you will have a hassle free living. After the warranty period the builder, developer will walk away and may be to start to another project. The purchasers cannot expect him to “baby sit” your condominium complex. Apart from that you may not be able to expect a good service from him because his expertise is not managing condominium buildings. Therefore the condominium corporation where all members are shareholders must take an active role in managing the condominium complex. These corporations are registered as nonprofit making companies. Popular option Condominium living is a popular option for many people who live in major cities in the world. This is certainly a relatively carefree housing option. Currently, in some parts of the world in core areas of major cities majority of new homes built is a condominium. Interest in condominiums tends to grow with a shortage of rental accommodation, relatively low mortgage interest rates, and urban core renewal. In these countries the concept is highly developed and all regulations are in place to protect the buyers. The purpose of writing these series of articles is to help the prospective purchaser to become an informed condominium buyer and help him to make the best choice. However it’s advisable for him to seek the advice of a condominium specialist like a lawyer or a qualified realtor without depending entirely on the builder / developer. Builder’s staff will corporate with real estate representatives in respect of giving all necessary information which could be passed on to the purchaser. The writer intends to write few more articles to give advice to purchasers and to those who have already bought condominiums. There are certain things that are absolutely necessary for you to do to get the best out of condominium living after purchasing the unit. This is an ongoing process. Background info to get started These articles will give you the basic background information you need to get started on the path to condominium ownership. It will identify important questions to ask—and the people you should be asking—before you make this important purchase. These information will provide a general overview of the purchase of condominiums. It is not intended to provide legal or technical advice. It is recommended that you retain appropriate legal and technical professionals to guide you with any condominium purchase you may consider. This is extremely important as you have to continue to get involved in the activities of the condominium corporation. You cannot expect a government department to look after your housing interests. You can certainly go to courts and or ministry of consumer affairs when there are disputes like any other single family home owner. The writer will do his best to provide more information and a checklist at the end of the series of these articles to help you narrow down the choice between the different types of condominiums you might see. (The writer is a graduate of the University of Ceylon, Peradeniya. Award winning Realtor, with wide experience in all aspects of Real Estate. A condominium specialist with specialized knowledge of the condominium management concept. Held Membership in Canadian real Estate Association & have written several articles on condominiums and real estate in general and also worked in the New Zealand Housing Corporation.E-mail :
Ms.Michaele Jeavons of Queensland Australia is in touch with us. She is trying to find information on one Thomas Dawson, originally a bombardier with the Royal Artillery, who was appointed a clerk in the Civil Ordinance Department at Trincomalee in 1810. He married Margaret Flood in 1814 and was then Deputy Store Keeper at Point de Galle from 1828. He died in July 1854 and is buried in the Galle Face Cemetery at Kadugannawa, Ceylon. Any info to
Kirthi Hewamanne Strict new laws should be introduced for the benefit of the country and the applicant... Some investment in Sri Lanka should be made mandatory for applicants. Having Dual Citizenship status is literally having the best of both worlds. Many Sri Lankans who hold Dual Citizenship had a sense of superiority. They can enjoy all the benefits and facilities enjoyed by any Sri Lankan and also entitled to all the benefits and facilities of their adopted country. Some Diaspora who obtained dual citizenship in the past used to engage in activities detrimental to the country. They used the status to fund terrorist organisations in Sri Lanka. Using facilities and the benefits offered by the government they misused to create devastation in their motherland. They make absolutely no contributions to their motherland. These selfish and crooked activities resulted in the government suspending offering of dual citizenship for Sri Lankans who are working overseas. Acceptance of Dual Citizenship applications and the application already approved and due for payments are temporarily discontinued until further notice. There are many Ex-Sri Lankans now holding foreign Citizenship or Sri Lankans qualified for grant of Citizenship of a foreign country have contributed to the socio - economic development of Sri Lanka. They should be offered dual citizenship as their experience and investment capabilities will definitely be a benefit to the country. There was absolutely no contribution whatsoever from a large majority of Ex-Sri Lankans who were granted Sri Lankan citizenship. But to the contrary, some were involving rackets providing funds to terrorists and coordinating fund raising activities for terrorists. This is the opinion of many Diaspora. However there are honest Ex-Sri Lankans who are genuinely interested in helping the country in the Socio Economic activities, using their expert knowledge and experience. A pre-screening procedure The Immigration and Emigration Department will restart processing dual citizenship applications from the expatriate Sri Lankans. Strict and new criteria are said to have been evolved for processing the applications in the next three months. Early last year, Sri Lanka had suspended processing dual citizenship applications in order to outline the new conditions. Last month, under the “Overseas Sri Lankans” Scheme, the cabinet had granted approval to amend the Citizenship Act No.18 of 1948 and the Immigration and Emigration Act No.20 of 1948 with the objective of formalising the granting of dual citizenship. Under the new set of conditions to acquire dual citizenship, a pre-screening procedure will be employed to check if a person applying for dual citizenship has the eligibility and the necessary requirements to seek dual citizenship. This would involve a one-to-one interview with a panel, headed by Defense Secretary. External Affairs Ministry Secretary and Public Administration Secretary would also be a part of the interview panel. External Affairs Ministry Secretary has explained that the interview panel will look into the applicant’s professional qualifications, investment capability and the need to acquire dual citizenship. As per new criteria, a Sri Lankan applicant having a passport of another country will initially be given a permanent residency for five years after which he/she will become eligible to receive the dual citizenship status. Current legislation Information relating to how they acquired a foreign citizenship has to be furnished by every applicant and the reason for seeking dual citizenship in Sri Lanka is also to be properly justified by every applicant. Information provided by the applicants will be cross-checked with the relevant overseas Sri Lankan missions and officials of the Immigration and Emigration Department and other state stakeholders will evaluate the application before granting the permanent residency and dual citizenship status, Controller of Immigration and Emigration has said. The revised fees for the process under the new system would be a total fee of Rs 200,000 that needs to be paid in two installments in the two stages - permanent residency and dual citizenship of the process. Controller of Immigration and Emigration said that amendments to the current legislation that deals with the visa applications have already been drafted and given to the Legal Draftsman for fine-tuning. He further said he is hopeful that it can be put into action within the next three months. The dual citizenship scheme was introduced in 1987. Apparently some 2,000 applications for dual citizenship are awaiting approval before the Immigration and Emigration Department while 4000 have already been offered the facility. This scheme should be introduced by the government and also should make sure that the scheme will benefit Sri Lanka as well as the applicant. There are many genuine Sri Lankan expatriates whose knowledge and experience can be utilized for the progress and development of the country in various aspects. It is imperative that the applicants should get involved in at least small to large business projects according to their capabilities. They should discuss this with the authorities before they are granted the dual citizenship status. The Writer is a graduate of the University of Ceylon, Peradeniya. Award winning Realtor in Canada, with wide experience in all aspects of Real Estate Development including the Condominium concept. A Canadian / Sri Lankan dual citizen presently living in Sri Lanka. Independent consultant promoting investments from overseas.
An international company seeks approx 2 acres land within the city to accommodate their labor force for the ongoing projects. Contact with info 0772 585878. Brokers protected.
Under MCUDP: By Ranil Wijayapala An artist's impression of the new Beira Lake Hamilton Canal 'Beira Lake' or the Colombo Lake as it was called during the colonial era would have been the most glamorous attraction in the city of Colombo as history reveals that the lake has been covering about 165 hectares of land in the city when it was originally created by the Portuguese in 1521 as a lake that protected their Fort from the locals. The 'Beira Lake' that heralds such a rich history driven towards the Portuguese era may have undergone many changes during the past as it was used for different purposes during its centuries old history. For instance, the Dutch who ruled the coastal belt of the country from the 1658 to 1796 have made use of this attractive waterfront for military purposes while the British who ruled the country from 1796 to 1948 used it for economic purposes. Therefore, this lake had undergone changes to cater to different objectives of different groups of people in its existence. But today anybody who visits the city of Colombo may not feel that lake is a part of the city and also property that can be accessed by them for recreational or any other purposes. May be the bad stench that emanate from the lake due to its neglected state would have been one reason for the people to distance themselves from the lake, but the inaccessibility to this great waterfront would have been the main reason for making it distance from the people. But the Colombo city realised the bigger potential this water body is having to refresh the minds of people when the Urban Development Authority rehabilitated the South West Beira or the part of Beira Lake adjacent to Nawam Mawatha and Gangarama temple to the present status making it a part of the city and a major attraction of the people. However, the East Beira Lake adjacent to D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha, the Galle Face Lake and the West Lake has been in a neglected state for years without any rehabilitation, making it a sore spot to the public. So, this great water body which has been identified as a place that has to be developed into a major attraction of the city, after a lengthy study carried out by the Urban Development Authority together with a panel of foreign experts to make use of this water body to reap maximum economic benefit to the city as well as to the country, is now drawing the attention of the authorities along with the great effort made by the Government to make Colombo an attractive city. Therefore, the recommendations made in that study completed in 1996 is now slowly turned into action to make this water body a big attraction in the city of Colombo. Urban Development Authority under the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development is making that effort under the Metro Colombo Urban Development Project (MCUDP) with funding from the World Bank. The ongoing activities such as the removal of some structures around the Beira Lake adjacent to D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha heralds some of the major changes directed towards turning this great water body into a major attraction and also an economic booster. Deputy Director Planning of the Urban Development Authority and the Deputy Project Manager, Beira Lake Development Project under Metro Colombo Urban Development Project N.A.S.N. Nissanka, says that the Beira Lake Restoration Master Plan completed in 1996 was aimed to integrate and restore the lake into the city to act as a catalyst for comprehensive development of appropriate, compatible, and desirable users. “The objectives of this master plan was to promote optimal utilisation of lands, recreation , and to improve public access to the lake and to facilitate the lake view creating windows connecting the city and the lake”, he said. Under this master plan it was suggested to have a water management plan, environment improvement plan and a business plan. “What we are doing today is to implement the recommendations in that Master Plan in a step by step process and the funding from the Metro Colombo Urban Development Project has been allocated to implement a few of such recommendations”, explaining the ongoing project undertaken by the UDA to develop Beira Lake under World Bank funding, Nissanka said. Dredging the sediment and treating the sediment, cleaning of water, disconnecting the waste water outlets and the monitoring of the water quality have to be done under a water management plan and the Colombo Municipal Council is already engaged in the process disconnecting illegal waste water outlets and sewer line to the lake and channelling them to new lines to facilitate this process. “The Environmental Improvement Plan has recommended dredging the lake, development of Linear Parks and Nodal Parks around the lake and the re-settlement of about 1,000 families in a new location”, Nissanka said. He said the resettling of the families living around the lake is being done under relocation of underserved settlement by the Defence and Urban Development Ministry after supplying them with quality and better housing facilities as promised to them by the Ministry. “Under the Business Development Plan we are planning to release urban lands for development and it proposes to relocation of existing inappropriate uses such as under-served settlements, stores, garages, industries etc. to suitable locations”, he said. Therefore, the lands will be redeveloped for more productive use, such as offices, apartments, banks and commercial establishments. “To implement the business plan of the Beira Lake project we have identified D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha from Lake House junction to Gamini Hall roundabout and we have declared that zone as a Tourism Related Development Zone”, he said. “We have to remove some of the buildings such as warehouses to facilitate the establishment of star class hotels, city hotels, restaurants, shopping malls and luxury houses. When the Galle Face side is developed with the construction of Shangri-La Hotel, D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha will also be developed parallel for the promotion of tourism”, he said. The Lotus Tower comes at the edge of the Beira Lake and that will be one of the major attractions in the area. “With the above development the stretch of lands mostly facing the East Beira, gets a magnificent view and most of the sites are located in close proximity to the City Centre, the Railway Station, Bus Stand and major city hotels. At the same time the existing land use mainly contribute to be developed as IT Parks, offices, business centres, recreational and amusement centres and other related uses and functions”, he said. “When we are allowing construction we are giving guidelines for them. “This will be a part of the Colombo city development drive like the way we are constructing the Colombo Fort, Tripoly Market development, Bus Stand Terminal development and other major development projects”, he said. “The economic advantages of the project goes to the business establishments around the Lake and it will also address the issue of the lack of space for the people living in the city as it will provide a required space for the people”, he said. Giving more insight about the concepts behind the Beira Lake development project, Deputy Director (Projects) of the UDA and the Deputy Project Manager, Beira Lake Development, Anusha Liyanamana said that the Beira Lake development comes under waterfront development projects of the MCUDP funded by the World Bank, which includes the flood mitigation and capacity improvement of Municipal Councils and Urban Councils among its objectives. “Since UDA undertook the development of South West Beira (Gangarama side) development project we have undertook the East Beira (D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha side), West Beira (Slave Island and Army headquarters side) and Galle Face Beira under MCUDP”, she said. “Beira Lake water body is one of the important assets the Colombo city is having at present. This is now at a neglected state and it has become a backyard in the city . The concept behind the development of Beira Lake is the conversion from Backyard to a Front Yard”, explaining the concept behind the project, she said. “All the water bodies in the country are common to all and they have made public properties under an Act. All these water bodies are having reservations and we are developing this project in the reservation area under the Beira Lake. There is no need to acquire any land for this project”, she said. “Though there are unauthorised settlements around the Beira Lake, we are relocating people giving them better quality housing units to facilitate the project. But for the East Beira, East bank development we did not want any relocation except for the people who lived in the area demarcated for the Lotus Tower development project”, she said. According to Liyanagama a Linear park with a width of six metres will be constructed along the banks of the East Beira Lake enabling the people to walk on the jogging track. “We make use of the reservation of the lake for the Linear Park. Nodal Park that facilitate the people to rest and relax will also be constructed along the bank of the lake at different places. We are making paving, planting trees and having seats for the people to relax and it can be accessed in the day time and night as well with the lighting systems to be installed along the lake”, she said. To facilitate this, the banks of the lake have to be strengthened and the section from Hyde Park to Postal Department building has to be strengthened by having gabion walling. Apart from that, Linear Parks will be constructed along the Galle Face Lake and the West Lake adjoining the Army headquarters and the Defence Ministry. “That will enable the people to enter this area from the Galle Face side also. Like that we are creating connections with many parts of the city through these linear parks. There will be Nodal Parks to provide leisure areas for the people to rest while walking in the linear parks”, she said. Apart from that a Marine Museum will also be constructed close to the McCallum Lock Gates connecting the East Beira Lake with the Colombo Port. “The Ports Authority will undertake the restoration of one lock gate which has been used to take barges to the lake to unload goods to the warehouses located around the lake”, she said. “We have phased out the project into a few packages and we are in the process of awarding the tenders to the contractors to commence construction work within a few weeks time”, she said. “By June this year we will be able to start all the phases of the project and within one year we will be able to complete the project enabling the people to have a relaxing walk in the city by making this historic lake a common property of all the citizens in the country”, she said.
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The Board of Investment is seeking proposals from interested parties to build a mixed development project or a hospital project in a prime land, located in Colombo. BOI said the 13.5 acre land bordering Kirimandala Mawatha in Colombo 05 will be given on a 99 year lease contract for a potential investor, who comes forward to take up the project. According to Ranjan Sibera, Deputy Director of Investment of the BOI, the land which will be given on lease contract is worth between US $ 40 to 50 million In a paper advertisement published seeking proposals for the proposed project the BOI announced the project will receive tax reliefs and other incentives. Investors from any part of the world are eligible to apply for this project and the proposals should reach the BOI on or before August 24, 2012. “We will also endorse joint ventures” added Sigera.
City Plan 04 Jul, 2012 12:19:47 Sri Lanka to build US$3bn tourism city with Singapore investor: BOI July 04, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s state investment promotion agency said it had inked a deal with a Singapore led consortium to build a 3 billion US dollar tourism city in Katana, north of the capital Colombo. A consortium led by Asian Resorts & Casinos, a Singapore based firm, will invest in Katana City Developments Private Limited, the project company. The BOI said a 200 acre site will see hotels with 2,500 rooms, shopping malls and other facilities that will eventually bring investments of over 3 billion US dollars, and create 10,000 jobs. "Katana City will deliver an exciting tourism offering for high volume arrivals, and the result will be a major step up in job creation, tax revenue and tourist arrivals for this vitally important sector," BOI chairman MMC Ferdinando said . Under the development plan, Sri Lanka's main airport will be connected to the Katana City by a Monorail which will also be built by the developers, the agency said. “This project has been planned to put Sri Lanka’s tourism offer on a par with Singapore and others in this region,” said Katana City’s director, Prashanth Koorapati was quoted as saying in a statement. "We are planning to make sure that the concept adheres to a high standard of eco sensitivity and defines itself to show the best of Sri Lanka, not to just copy previous projects completed elsewhere." Earlier reports had said that Sun City, a South Africa based firm will build an 800 million US dollar resort complex in Katana. The BOI is targeting 1.7 billion dollars of investments this year, lower than 2.0 billion dollars projected by the central bank, due to weak economic conditions in the West, Ferdinando told a UK-based newspaper last month. Since a 3-year war ended in 2009, Sri Lanka has forecasted a five-fold increase of 2.5 million foreign visitors by 2016, who will generate some 2.75 billion dollars in revenues.
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Article by Ms.SMRITI SOIN Wellness and weight management as well as figure correction is the new age mantra. To be emotionally as well as spiritually healthy you need to maintain good physical health. There is an old adage -a healthy mind rests in a healthy body. In a crazy rush to meet deadlines and deal with work pressure, time to reschedule your lifestyle is not your top priority. In addition, unhealthy eating habits and regular binging of snack food have resulted in developing of many health related issues, the most significant being obesity. Sustaining a healthy weight is vital to avoid quite a few diseases including those of the heart. People who are obese are more likely to get strokes, arthritis, gout, diabetes, gall bladder stones and high blood pressure. Over weight is also related to lack of appeal and in this modern age where zero-figure is the most sought after quality, it becomes really necessary to maintain a perfect weight. Little change in your eating habits, few lifestyle changes and a bit of exercise can help you cope with the most hectic life, keeping you healthy, wealthy and also wise. Weight management is just about keeping your body weight at a healthy level. To maintain ideal weight all you require is determination. Balanced physical activity under the guidance of a fitness expert with a correct diet plan can help you maintain your desired weight. Regular exercise is vital to burn calories. Yoga, aerobics, stretching, weight lifting, brisk walking, swimming, cycling can help increase your metabolic rate by burning calories. You should always begin your day with a wholesome breakfast. You should take six small meals in place of three big and steer clear of heavy dinner. Weight management experts as well as dieticians strongly discourage crash diets or yo-yo diets. Though self denial or crash diets show immediate results, they are detrimental for your mind-body in the long run. For a successful weight management or weight loss program you need to seek advice from a weight management specialist. Experts swear on the importance of drinking water for any successful weight management program. Water flushes out the build-up toxins in the body thereby facilitating proper digestion and assimilation. Fiber is simply an excellent appetite suppressant. It generates a feeling of fullness leaving the body satisfied for hours. Foods rich in fiber are whole grains, wheat germ, red kidney beans, wheat porridge, vegetables and fruits. Eat salads, fruits, seeds rich in omega-3, whole grain food, sprouts instead of ready to eat fast food. Add Green tea, small pots of yogurt in addition to dry fruits in your daily diet. Avoid puddings, cookies or cakes for dessert and go for fresh fruit. Drink water before every meal and try to avoid alcohol. Maintain a good posture to stay fit. Health is wealth. Good health is vital to have a positive state of mind and to live a happy and fulfilling life .So eat right, sleep right, maintain proper or ideal weight and enjoy life.
Ramani KANGARAARACHCHI Sri Lanka is one of the most dynamic new real estate markets in Asia Pacific region according to a research report titled "Real Estate in Sri Lanka'. This was revealed at the launch of the report by Jones Lang LaSalle at Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel yesterday. Jones Lang LaSalle Asia Pacific CEO, Alastair Hughes said that Sri Lanka is an extremely promising market for organized commercial, residential and retail real estate services. The country has been on a strong growth trajectory since the re-establishment of political stability. The report highlights that investment grade office stock in Colombo is expected to multiply 2.4 times in the next 4-5 years. And the IT sector is expected to generate an additional demand of 7 million square feet of office space during 2012-2015. It said that the expected surge in tourism will require a near doubling of hospitality infrastructure in the coming years. Chairperson Sri Lanka operations Gagan Singh said, that the company already has half a million square feet of quality real estate under management in Sri Lanka, with clients ranging from leading residential developers to the IT field and their aim is to combine local market knowledge. The report has analyzed past and present real estate growth trends taking into account country's demographic and socio-economic characteristics.
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Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Former Indian President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam recently proposed implementing his concept of Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA), which envisages providing urban amenities to rural areas as a key strategy for rural development in Sri Lanka. PURA envisages provision of physical, electronic and knowledge connectivities leading to economic recovery using rural skills and competence. It was an excellent idea. I expected a broad discussion to emerge among rural policy planners, community planners, social service organisations and NGOs about this concept, but it did not happen. This brief article is intended to rouse that interest. As stated in the Economic Policy Framework of the Government, Sri Lanka’s rural development strategy is based on pro-poor pro-growth income improvement and redistribution policies with participation of a socially responsible private sector and a strong public sector. The Government has understood that higher economic growth alone is not sufficient to reduce poverty; instead it should focus on pro-poor growth strategies. A sustainable six to eight percent growth in real income is targeted over the next five years. This in turn requires raising investment to around 35 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The PURA scheme at Thalikulam, India [Right] Plantations, an area for which PURA has been advocated Such investments include domestic and foreign investment as well as public investment. The ultimate objective is to ensure that Sri Lanka steadily progresses towards upper middle-income country status within the next 10 years. The National Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy (NPRGS) is the major Government policy approach to navigate pro-poor pro-growth, income and redistribution strategies. There are five main objectives of this strategy: (a) to facilitate poor groups to engage in productive economic activities (b) give them income support during the transition period (c) reduce the poverty gap between different social strata (d) minimise regional variations in the incidence of poverty and (e) to narrow regional disparities in development. In the process of the implementation of these policy interventions and their translation into development strategies, poor segments of society and other vulnerable groups will be encouraged to be active partners in the mainstream development process. Rural development Any public policy formulation requires an enlightened political will and a mighty vision to meet the desired objectives. After Independence in 1948, many novel and innovative policies were formulated as well as implemented successfully. The ‘agricultural strategy’ which was pivotal in making Sri Lanka almost self-sufficient in rice is one such example. At the same time, there were policies such as the one on ‘forest conservation’ with lofty and ambitious goals that failed miserably in reaping the desired objectives and goals. However, nothing should deter the policy makers from innovating and thinking out-of the-box solutions to combat the daunting socio-economic problems in Sri Lanka. Provision of Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA), as recommended by the Former Indian President is another step which can become a path-breaking public policy in Sri Lanka. The primary objective of this scheme is to shore up the rural economy by bridging the huge rural-urban divide. It aims at providing urban amenities and livelihood sources in rural areas to check mass distress migration to urban areas and rapid unplanned urbanisation in Sri Lanka. Though the road to recovery is long, I believe, this is definitely a well thought out first step in the right direction. PURA is a rural development program envisaged to be implemented in the much discussed framework of ‘public-private partnership’ (PPP). The scheme, if implemented, would be managed by the private sector on viability and sustainability, considerations which shall be fully aligned with the overall objective of rural development. Fishing industry This framework of bringing together public funds and private capital into creation of infrastructure in rural areas and leveraging upon private sector expertise to manage and maintain the same during the concession period, forms the essence of the PURA Scheme. Historical background Dr. Kalam realised that the lack of livelihood opportunities, modern amenities and services for decent living in rural areas eventually lead to migration of people to urban areas. He also understood that there are wide gaps in the availability of physical and social infrastructure between rural and urban areas. To address these issues, he highlighted a vision of transformation of rural India through the launch of a mega mission for provision of urban amenities in rural areas. PURA was ideated as a self-sustainable and viable model of service delivery to be managed through an implementation framework between local people, public authorities and the private sector. The Government support would be in the form of finding the right type of management structure to develop and maintain rural infrastructure, empowering such management structure and providing initial economic support. The scheme envisages twinning of rural infrastructure development with economic re-generation activities and is the first attempt at delivering a basket of infrastructure and amenities through Private-Public-Partnerships in the rural areas. It is an effort to provide a different framework for the implementation of rural infrastructure development schemes and harness private sector efficiencies in the management of assets and delivery of services. PPP The selected private partners will develop livelihood opportunities, urban amenities and infrastructure facilities to accepted service levels and be responsible for maintenance of the same for a specified period in rural areas. Private sector entities having experience in development and management of community-oriented infrastructure projects will be selected through an open competitive bidding process based on rigorous qualifications and evaluation criteria. The selected private partners would be required to provide amenities like water supply and sewerage, roads, drainage, solid waste management, street lighting and power distribution and undertake some economic and skills development activity. The private partners may also provide add-on revenue earning facilities such as village-linked tourism, integrated rural hub, rural market, agri-services centre and warehousing facilities in addition to the above mentioned amenities. Funding for projects under the PURA scheme would come from four sources; Ministry of Rural Development schemes, other ministry sources who wish to invest, private financing and capital grants from the Central Government. Recommendations Talking about Sri Lanka, Dr. Kalam says that with 16 million rural citizens representing about 79 percent of the population, Sri Lanka has a potential of deploying about 160 PURA complexes based on the core competencies of the cluster of villages. He recommends that these may focus on the following aspects: *Coastal PURA: Focusing on marine industry including sea fishing, processing, packaging and sales. Sri Lanka's vast coastlands can be organised into about 50 coastal PURA complexes, primarily focusing on fishing and also service industry of sea tourism. *Plain PURA: Based on the inlands of Sri Lanka, we can realise about 60 plain PURA complexes, focusing on agro-products and processing such as rice and coconut, forest products, natural and medicinal tourism and IT. *Hill PURA: There is a potential for creating about 50 hill PURA complexes. Suitable rainfall and weather conditions make them ideally suited for creating industry based on plantations. The execution of such a PURA mission can be done in an entrepreneurial way, with Public-Private-Community Partnership model with active involvement from all the diverse societies of the nation. Dr. Kalam has done his homework well, it seems. As he correctly says, there are many more detailed aspects which would go within each of the specific PURAs. A lot more thinking is needed. But the basic fact remains clear and intact. PURA, if implemented, sensibly will work for the benefit of rural masses in Sri Lanka. Consider the amenities we can provide: Water and sewerage, construction and maintenance of village streets, drainage, solid waste management, skills development, development of economic activities, village-linked tourism, integrated rural hubs and rural markets, agri-services centres and warehousing are some of them. It is expected that a scheme such as PURA, wherein all related schemes for rural infrastructure are being converged for a synchronised delivery for 10 years in project mode will maximise its socio-economic impact. Maybe, time is the best judge regarding the success of an advanced scheme such as PURA in Sri Lanka. Such bold and innovative steps are needed today to zero in on the best-suited public policy in the long run for the rural development in Sri Lanka.
Real estate is the fastest growing sector in the country at present, therefore property developers will have to play a lead role in the whole process, Central Bank Deputy Governer D Weerasinghe said. He was the keynote speaker and the chief guest at the inauguration of knowledge sharing conference on “Role of real property development in an emerging economy” at the Centre for Banking Studies in Rajagiriya yesterday. He said Sri Lanka is now entering a high growth path and moving towards a higher quality of life and better living standards. The IMF has categorized Sri Lanka as emerging market economy from low income economy. As such, the per capita income of US$ 4000 by 2015 is very much within the reach. Thereafter, the overall outlook of Sri Lankan economy will change further. In 2010 the country has a clear economic growth of 10 percent compared to three percent in the previous year. Deerasinghe said the tourism industry will develop very fast exceeding five percent growth within the next 10 years through the arrival of two and a half million visitors and the development of five hubs concept of the government which include port, aviation, and knowledge. The development of five ports in Hambantota, Trincomalee, Oluvil, Colombo South and Kalmunai will make a huge difference in infrastructure development within the next few years. “However, the country will need more resources, and some resources are not enough. Therefore foreign direct investments are very vital. Key areas must get serious attention and more IT systems are also required because the country need to be faster than the other countries around us,” he said.
Once a location of choice for directors shooting World War II classics and big 1980s adventure films, Sri Lanka is hoping to make a comeback on the movie trail. The Government has been trying to promote a new image, focusing on its elegant colonial buildings, tropical jungles and golden beaches.Sri Lanka's next major foreign film is tipped to be "Toomai of the Elephants", an adaptation of a story from Rudyard Kipling's "Jungle Book", starring former James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan and veteran Omar Sharif. Filming is set to begin in January, and many local film professionals see it as a major chance to advertise Sri Lanka as a flexible and attractive film location. "Peace has opened doors for more movies to be shot in Sri Lanka," Chandran Rutnam, a Sri Lankan film maker who wrote the "Toomai of the Elephants" script, told AFP."Safety and difficulty to get insurance to cover film productions in Sri Lanka were the biggest drawbacks during that time. People are now willing to invest in films here because we are cheaper than other Asian locations."Rutnam knows better than anyone the island's potential as he has worked on more than 50 international projects over the decades. He was a 16-year-old filmhand on the multiple Oscar-winning "The Bridge on the River Kwai" (1957), directed by David Lean and starring Alec Guinness, which was filmed in a valley near the western town of Kitulgala.Rutnam was also production manager alongside director Steven Spielberg on the 1984 blockbuster "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom". It was shot in and around the royal city of Kandy. "We are encouraging foreign artistes and film crew to shoot in our country to experience its beauty," Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene, Deputy Minister of Economic Development, told AFP. "The whole country is now open for locations. We see this kind of work promotes our country as a tourist destination, promotes skills and helps local economic activity."
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Nuwan KODIKARA, Panduka SAMARASEKARA and Tennakoon KULASEKERA Sri Lanka is endowed with a total number of 5,879 wild elephants according to the elephant census conducted by the Wild Life Department from August 11 to 14. Agrarian Services and Wild Life Minister S M Chandrasena disclosed this at a ceremony held yesterday to release the census report. Minister Chandrasena said the Mahaweli wild life zone has been identified as the region with the highest density of wild elephants with 1,751 animals while the central wild-life zone is the region with the lowest density of 47 wild elephants. Minister Chandrasena said according to the latest statistics obtained the number of wild tuskers amounted to 122 and the number of baby elephants is 1107. The census was carried out through 1553 observation centres country wide assisted by a team of about 3500 personnel including wild life officials, security forces and police personnel, university dons, students, Civil Security Department officials and farmers. According to the data obtained Sri Lanka has a greater number of elephants compared to other countries in Asia and its elephant population is very healthy. Minister Chandrasena said his ministry would make use of the elephant census results to devise and implement measures to minimize the human - elephant conflict. Ministry Secretary Udeni Wickremasinghe and Wild Life Director General H G Ratnayake were also present.
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A new and rare orchid species was recorded from Koslanda by True Nature Conservation Society director Ajantha Palihawadena during his latest research. This species has been identified as Nervilia Plicata.
China Harbour Corporation is planning to build a four star luxury hotel in Hambantota. Urban Development Authority Chairman Janaka Kurukulasuriya said the proposed hotel will be built next to the Peacock Beach Hotel. In addition one of the biggest hotel chains in Asia, Shangri-La will also be building a resort type hotel in the same beach stretch. In addition Insurance Corporation too is planning to build a hotel in Hambantota. The Korean government funded Convention Centre will be opening next year and will provide facilities for MICE tourism and also offer accommodation. In addition to several other hotels that are currently being built in Hambantota, the Ranmihitenna Tele Cinema Village offers accommodation for around 400 guests and support crew. Kurukulasuriya said Hambantota is being designed as the best planned city in the region which will also include three flyovers in key junctions. “A new bus stand too is being built envisaging the future developments,” he added.
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Construction work on the new botanical garden at Awissawela is in full swing, said National Botanical Gardens Director General Dr.Cyril Wijesundara.
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This project is scheduled to start by the end of this year with the approval of funds from the China Construction Bank for mitigation of floods. "At the end we want to see boats starting from Bolgoda travelling to Negombo. The network is there and there are huge obstacles. We are working on them. A lot of investors are keen to invest and the public also come up with various innovative ideas", he said. "Double decker boats, floating restaurants, water sports, floating houses are some of the proposals submitted for consideration", he said. "In the next two three years we will be able to complete the project to minimise floods around Colombo city to a greater extent", he added. "Flooding is a phenomenon that cannot be avoided. Yet, I am confident that we can control floods to a great extent through the implementation of these projects", Chairman SLLRDC said.
Colombo, the ‘Garden City’ of yesteryear, is slowly but surely regaining its original reputation, thanks to a massive greening programme aimed at making the city both Eco- Friendly and People Friendly. Clearing the city’s huge collections of garbage piles, dredging years of accumulated silt from canals and other waterways to facilitate transport of goods, and widening the picturesque lakes that dot the city to enable people to take boat rides on them, are among some of the recent innovative measures taken by the City Fathers, the UDA and city planners to realise this vision of making Colombo environmentally healthy and friendly for its teeming residents. A very recent and ambitious project based on the same goal, which is currently underway, is to create a City Without Walls, which is what this article is all about. For the vast majority of residents however a City Without Walls is a daunting concept. Given the rising crime rate in this city of over six million residents and over six lakhs of floating populations, they would probably opt to stay behind the high walls that now guard their homes, if only to keep dangerous criminals who prowl around at day and night looking for their next prey. Yet, to many living in cities abroad, the open city concept is already a way of life. It began when the UN advocated the ‘Safer and Open Cities’ concept sometime ago. This resulted in an Open City International Federation Inc. US (FOCA International) that represents a network of NGOs, municipalities and business organisations whose mission is to develop national projects to comply with the Open city vision. The result was a surge of eco friendly cities across the globe, with even some of the most polluted cities joining in. China which has been battling pollution owing to its rising population for years, is now switching to environmentally friendly technology to generate energy, while other developing countries are following suit. Creating ‘People Friendly Green Cities’, is now a buzz word hawked around by environmental, activists. New approach The new approach to city planning has brought about a remarkable transformation in these cities - not just in their physical appearance, but in the way it has impacted on the lifestyles and health of those living in them. Chicago offers an outstanding example. Once a blue collar city of asphalt and glass and concrete canyons, the city now boasts of lush trees, with green topped commercial buildings sporting lush gardens and dingy alleys paved with special asphalt on the orders of the city authorities that all heads of the city departments make their operations environmentally friendly. Changes Which brings us to our own metropolis – the City of Colombo. Although only recently launched, it is evident that the multi pronged effort is already paying dividends. The Nation had a first hand view of these changes when we toured the city to see how and where the Open City concept is taking place. In the same vein, we also found a sharp contrast in those areas where the project had not yet commenced. They includes places such as Maradana, Pettah, Borella, Thimbirigasyaya, Narahenpitiya, Wellawatte and Bambalapitiya, which were far from environmentally friendly and some of the highest risk areas for dengue mosquito breeding sites. Driving through Maradana and Borella, on our way to Battaramulla on a hot afternoon this week, was a particularly unpleasant experience, we discovered. Traffic at this time of the day is thick and one is compelled to inhale a great deal of noxious fumes from cars, lorries, three wheelers, and buses. Although we yearned for the sight of some greenery in the form of trees and flowering plants on the road sides to sooth our jaded nerves, there were none. All you see are rows of buildings, many of them derelict relics of a past era, defaced by graffiti, shops, and eateries. However once you reach the Cotta Road junction the contrast in the landscape could not be more obvious. It is at this point that you begin to see the results of the eco-friendly project all the way to the Parliamentary complex. From here there’s nothing but stretches of greenery and most significantly and signs of building walls being replaced by open fences. The Parliament Road itself presents a picturesque well laid garden city replete with open spaces and buildings. Statues of patriotic leaders and writers dot the landscape on the lines of the cities one finds in the West. They tower above miniature gardens, fountains, ponds, and parks (including children’s parks) that have sprung up in every part of this once neglected village. Walls are conspicuous by their absence. Most buildings, including the commercial ones, are enclosed by green fencing, rails or simply natural vegetation such as bushes or flowering trees. We spotted several yellow tractors engaged in widening the picturesque Diyawanna Oya. Significantly, much of the marshy land that was once a trade mark in the area, has disappeared. The few remaining plots of crown land overgrown by wild grass, however pose a mosquito threat. They should be removed without delay as Colombo boasts of the highest number of dengue patients at present. Commercial establishments The Open Space concept has made its way into private shops, banks, and commercial establishments which have gone a step further and undertaken the paving of the side walks close to them, lining them with flowers. All these efforts bespoke of an individual commitment to greening the city. Besides these commercial establishments, it was also heartening to note that some of the international schools including pre-schools, had decided to do away with their outer walls and were now fencing their outer boundaries with green netting and protective rails and making innovative changes in their physical appearance to create the idea of space and a green environment. One pre school for instance, with limited garden space in front had, flowering plants trailing along the rails of the upper portion of its steel gates to give make it more eco friendly. Dept. of National Archives Returning to the municipal district of Colombo, we made out way to some of the places where the project is underway. Our first stop was the Department of National Archives, the repository of many valuable books relating to the history of this country. We parked outside the large open space in front of the building no longer hidden from view by high walls, since the entire surrounding walls had been demolished. A slew of workers were busy laying out the new gardens. Once landscaped by experts, this once dull colonial structure will be hard to recognize. It will be transformed into one of the most attractive eco-friendly buildings based on the open space concept, an official told us with pride. Ancient In contrast, the ancient building that now houses the Volleyball Federation and other sports bodies, once the Colombo race course pavilion built in 1923, offered an ugly comparison. Considering the fact that it stands right in the middle of the National Archives Department now in the process of being modernised, and the new Thurstan Rugby Football Sports complex - two structures that have sprung up along the open space concept, this ancient relic of the past must be demolished to showcase the two new structures lying between. At the Thurstan Sports complex where we made our next stop, a large number of men and women labourers were engaged in the task of laying grass on the grounds. The new grounds are surrounded by green rails and fencing so as to enable passersby to watch players in action. Sports grounds Other sports grounds that have been made more people friendly include the Campus sports grounds, the Police sports grounds at Havelock Road (the latter which is currently undergoing a landscape change, is easily one of the most attractive grounds in the city), The Sports Ministry grounds, the BRC. However many well known sports grounds such as CCC, Havelocks, NCC, SSC, remain hidden from view to the public behind their high walls. “Ideally, all parks, cricket grounds, play grounds and public institutions should be opened up because they belong to the public and should be accessible to the public. Besides, when you open them up, apart from creating the idea of space, there will be much less opportunity for those wanting to use them for various nefarious activities since they are open to public view,” Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam, Chief Medical Officer, CMC, told The Nation. He said that most municipal grounds have now been taken over by clubs at a nominal fee, and it was these clubs who were responsible for erecting the high walls preventing ordinary people from access to them Having been advocating the Open Space concept for several years, he said the same applied to schools as well. Schools At present most of the schools in the city itself both government and private, still remain aloof from the public enclosed by high walls. According to some of the Principals of girls’ schools they prefer to have their students secluded from public gaze behind high walls, mostly for security reasons. “The invasion of high spirited young men during the Big Match days is itself a justified reason”, argued one Principal of a leading government school. “We’re doing this for security reasons”, was the excuse trotted out by the Head of a private girl’s school. On the contrary, said Dr. Kariyawasam, “It is much safer to keep these schools open and bring down their walls. That way you can keep out unwanted persons from climbing over the walls at night to engage in illicit sex or hold hooch parties or do drugs, which is what is happening behind those high school walls now”. Health-wise too, he added that having no walls will be healthier, and prevent breeding grounds for the dengue mosquito. “We had to take one school head in a school at Narahenpita to Court recently, because there were so many mosquito breeding sites in the school which caused dengue among those living in the vicinity. By opening up school grounds to the public gaze, principals will take more interest in keeping the school grounds free of such breeding sites as people can lodge a complaint against them”. Security Asked about the security risks, he said, “Of course there should be security measures in place. Also better street lighting to make the environment safer, before walls come down. This applies to parks, playgrounds and other public buildings as well. Perhaps the government may consider giving concessions to those willing to undertake their own lighting systems in the vicinity”, he mused. Law Asked if there was a law being put into place for dismantling walls surrounding schools, government buildings and residences, Omar Kamil, Special Commissioner, CMC told The Nation, “We don’t have any hard and fast rule about breaking walls, and we are not compelling anyone to break their walls if they don’t wish to do so. All we’re asking is that wherever there’s a turf to open up and make it more people friendly. This applies to schools as well. We have requested heads of schools that if there’s an open area and a turf , make it more people friendly by lowering the walls or bringing it down. It’s only a request not an order”, he emphasized, adding that even in government offices, not everyone was receptive to the idea of open offices. ‘It will take some time”. Hospitals Hospital grounds are no better. It was recently reported that the Police Hospital at Narahenpitiya had several dengue patients who had been infected by mosquitoes from the hospital premises. With the Open Space concept there will be no room for collection of plastic bags, and other breeding sites for mosquitoes, health authorities said. “If will also be healthier for the patients housed there”, they added. Police Stations Some of the walls of the Police stations are also in the process of coming down as in the case of the Cinnamon Gardens Police station. “This is to make them People friendly’, explained Omar Kamil, Special Commissioner CMC. Tourist attractions The Vihara Mahadevi park, a well known tourist attraction and recreational place, is perhaps one of the best examples of the open space concept. Today it looks much more attractive than it did a few years ago, with its green rails and fencing and one is able to actually see what’s going on in the park. While lovers still find this an attractive place to meet, the fact that they are under the scrutiny of passersby will probably curtail any behaviour that exceeds bounds of decency. Credit must go to the CMC for maintaining the park which should be a sustained effort since littering still takes place. The museum, another tourist attraction is also more people friendly with the lowering of the walls and an attempt to landscape the gardens. But as I said before it should be a sustained effort. Conclusion Creating an eco-friendly city will undoubtedly go a long way in making this city a friendlier and healthier place to live in. The concept has, as I mentioned earlier, worked in most countries where it has been implemented and there’s no reason why it should fail in Sri Lanka. It will also have a ripple effect. Once the city of Colombo undergoes a metamorphosis, other local municipal authorities are likely to follow suit with a multitude of cities without walls springing up across the island. If the present political leadership and commitment continues, it may not be too much to expect that before long this will be a truly eco friendly island.
A third year student of the Open University of Sri Lanka at Nawala committed suicide recently by throwing himself before a moving train at Dematagoda. It transpired at the inquest held by the Inquirer into Sudden Deaths at Ragama, Priyankara Lal that the 26-year-old student was in a depressed state of mind as his parents could not find money for him to pay the course fees which amounted to Rs.32,000. Testifying at the inquest, the mother of the deceased, a 58-year-old woman from Gothatuwa told the Inquirer into Sudden Deaths that her husband, the sole breadwinner of the family is a carpenter. Her son earned some money giving private tuition to children, to meet the expenses required for his studies. A few days before he committed suicide he wanted his parents to give him Rs.32,000 to pay the course fees. “As we did not have the money we tried to raise a loan from a money lender, but he wanted 25 percent interest,” she said. The engine driver of the Vavuniya-bound express train said that he saw a youth plunge onto the track from the platform as the train was speeding past the Dematagoda Railway Station. He brought the train to a halt, but it was too late to save the youth. He said that the body of the deceased was later handed over to the Ragama General Hospital. PS Indika Pradeep of Dematagoda Police led the evidence at the inquest. JMO Ragama Dr. Ms. Indrani Kitulwatte conducted the Post Mortem examination. The Inquirer into Sudden Deaths returned a verdict of suicide and directed the body be buried in the Gothatuwa Cemetery.
The sprucing up of Colombo with emphasis on serving the tourist with a ‘Clean city and a Green city’ with the accent on beautification is in full swing, according to the Special Commissioner of the Colombo Municipal Council, Omar Kamil. “The road development drive and the city beautification programme coined the ‘Garden City’ concept is being personally overseen by the Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa under whom the Urban Development Authority comes,” the Special Commissioner told The Nation yesterday. Accordingly, already landscaping had been done in several places including the removal of the boundary wall opposite the Cinnamon Gardens Police and opposite Thurstan College. Kamil elaborated that the private and corporate sector had thrown in their weight in a big way behind the government in the implementation of the landscaping of the Colombo city. He said that under the Rs.250 million city road rehabilitation project theming on the Galle Road Kollupitiya and Bambalapitiya stretch had seen 50 percent of the foot walk completed. He further said that the dilapidated Bloemendhal Road in Kotahena was also being rehabilitated with emphasis on foot walk, pavements and parking space. The road rehabilitation stretches from Kollupitiya up to the Wellawatte Bridge which was being given top priority in that facelift, according to the Special Commissioner.
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By Charles Wesley Ervin August 2010 A. Patchamuthu, who will soon celebrate his 90th birthday, is one of the last living veterans of the Old Left in Sri Lanka. He was a member of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) from 1942 until his retirement from active politics in 2000. I first contacted him several years ago, seeking information about the Samasamajists who had crossed over to work in South India during the Second World War. He obliged cheerfully. When I asked him about his own political career, he said he had been merely a rank-and-file party worker. Yet the more he revealed, the more I admired him. I sense that he is too humble and modest to tell his own story. And so I offer my own tribute to a remarkable "foot soldier of the revolution." Background Appavoopillai Patchamuthu was born on September 29, 1921, in Koslanda, a hill town in the Badulla District of what was then colonial Ceylon. His ancestral roots were in Aranthangi, a town in the Tanjore District of Madras Province, which is now Tamil Nadu. His grandfather, R. Alaghoopillai (1872-1944), had trekked to Ceylon from India at the age of 18 seeking a better life. Through hard work, he developed four plantations in the Koslanda-Nikapotha area as well as a printing business. And his son, R. A. Appavoopillai (1898-1955), further developed the family's holdings in the Koslanda area, providing Patchamuthu and his siblings with a comfortable home, an English education, and opportunities for advance. As Patchamuthu grew up, the Indian freedom movement was in full swing, and the struggle resonated in Ceylon, especially among the Tamils. "My parents were politically inclined up to the point of talking about Gandhi and Nehru and their struggle for Indian independence." (All quotes are from his letters to me.) Attending Uva College in Badulla, an Anglican secondary school, Patchamuthu learned about world politics. "My main source for political knowledge while in college was Nehru's book, Glimpses of World History. From this book I learned about the French Revolution and the Russian Revolution. He gave vivid descriptions of the political upheavals in Europe and Asia." The Lanka Sama Samaja Party In 1935, while Patchamuthu was still a teenager, the LSSP came on the scene, a dynamic, radical new force that boldly challenged the conservative status quo in the new language of Marxist revolution. The youthful party had two firebrands in the State Council, Philip Gunawardena and N.M. Perera, who championed the interests of the working classes and denounced the selfishness, stupidity, and injustice of the British overlords and the Ceylonese elite. In Badulla, the local LSSP leader J.C.T. (“Jack”) Kotalawala, a lawyer who was a founding member of the party, had a strong popular following. The LSSP made rapid headway in organizing a militant new union for the Tamil workers on the British tea plantations. The planters fought the Red Menace tooth and nail. Starting in 1939, a wave of militant strikes swept the plantations. The LSSP had become more than just a thorn in their sides. In April 1940 the government arrested Philip Gunawardena, the real brains behind the LSSP, and three other leaders, shut down the party newspapers, and banned party meetings. In this tense situation Patchamuthu attended a huge LSSP rally in Badulla on May 12, 1940, held in defiance of the ban, to protest the police murder of a striker. That day changed his life. "I met J.C.T. Kotalawala, and he introduced me to the party.” The police warned Patchamuthu to stay away from the Trotskyist troublemakers. But he was not one to be deterred by threats. "I continued my political activities with a few of the worker comrades who were not arrested in Badulla.” In April, 1942 Patchamuthu heard welcome news: the LSSP had rescued their four imprisoned party leaders from their jail cells in Kandy under cover of darkness and smuggled them past the military sentry posts back to hideouts in Colombo. Embarrassed and humiliated, the government hunted for the fugitives and arrested more party members. “On December 1, 1942, I was summoned by the Superintendant of Police in Badulla and interrogated. I was let off with a severe warning, since I was a student." "The Glorious Days of the LSSP" Despite the risks, Patchamuthu cast his fate with the LSSP. "I disappeared from Badulla along with a few others. I went to Colombo and got absorbed in the LSSP underground movement." By that time, the fugitive party leaders had already left for India, where they were working with the newly formed Trotskyist organization, the Bolshevik Leninist Party of India (BLPI). The party group in Colombo consisted mainly of second-tier cadres and student recruits who were not known to the police. "We worked with harbour workers, weaving mill workers, and railway workers. We worked among university students. We distributed leaflets to the soldiers. These were the glorious days of the LSSP." In 1944 the BLPI decided to convene a clandestine all-India party conference in Madras. The LSSP elected Patchamuthu as a delegate. "It was perilous journey to meet the LSSP comrades in a city that I was going to for the first time." The conference was an intense political experience. The delegates debated a wide range of issues, from the thorny theoretical question of Muslim self-determination to practical matters of party building. Given the need for tight security, all the participants used pseudonyms. Patchamuthu was "Ganesh." The meetings, which lasted all day and night, evidently roused suspicion in the neighborhood. The police dispatched a squad to raid the house. Alerted to the danger, the delegates had to quickly disperse."The underground days were very challenging and nerve-breaking." Buoyant Optimism When the war ended in 1945, the government lifted the ban on the LSSP and released the political prisoners. "I left Colombo and went to the plantations to organize our trade unions. In a short time we built a strong trade union base in Badulla and Haputale Districts. I was the central figure in Haputale where we had a membership of over 25,000 plantation workers." In April 1946 Patchamuthu and another comrade, S. Chelliah, led a strike of 400 Tamil laborers on the Sherwood Estate in Haputale. Their strike triggered sympathy strikes on another ten estates, involving some 20,000 workers. Patchamuthu, Chelliah, and J.C.T. Kotalawala toured the estates and addressed the strikers. The party newspaper reported optimistically, "The worker Bolskeviks in these estates were in the forefront of the struggle and took an active part in the organising of strike committees on these estates" (Fight, May 1946). Eager to build on this success, the LSSP asked Patchamuthu to contest the Haputale seat in the first elections to parliament in 1947. His election leaflet set forth a series of demands specifically addressed to the needs of the Tamil plantation workers, including free education and free health services. "My parliamentary election campaign was very exhausting. I owned no vehicle and had to walk miles and miles up hills and down valleys. My opponents were very formidable candidates with unlimited resources. My election workers were employed in tea and rubber estates on daily wages." Bitter Disappointment Alarmed by the resurgence of the LSSP, the conservative Ceylonese parties played the communal card to drive a wedge between the Tamils and the Left. Their insidious anti-Tamil propaganda worked. The plantation workers voted for their own communal organization, the Ceylon Indian Congress, in self-defense. The CIC won six out of the seven seats it contested. Patchamuthu came in fourth place for Haputale. J.C.T. Kotalawala lost his bid in Badulla, his home base. After the election, the Tamils deserted the LSSP union in droves. The election defeat was a harsh blow to Patchamuthu. One of his comrades at that time recalls: “When walking along Galle Road, shortly after the ’47 election, I saw Patchamuthu through the open door at a table. It was, I think, a private press office. I walked in to speak with him. He was, as I felt, in a state of shock. He could not, I thought, believe that those workers to whom he had given so much had voted for Congress.” Recalling that period, Patchamuthu told me: "After the grueling campaign, I wanted a break." He went up to India, to Madurai, where he spent the next nine months working with the BLPI student groups and unions of mill workers. That was far more satisfying and rewarding work. In 1948 he returned to Koslanda. His parents gave him a ten-acre plantation with a house. "I continued with my trade-union and political activities from here. I had a reasonable income to live a happy, simple, and comfortable life." During this period, he contested an election to the village council as an LSSP candidate. "In spite of the electorate being predominantly Sinhalese, I won by a handsome majority." The Hartal of 1953 In 1953 the LSSP and other left parties called for a one-day hartal to protest the government's cut in the rice subsidy. The response was completely unexpected, in terms of turnout and militancy. "The Hartal was widespread, from villages to town. I participated and I was arrested and locked up in the Fort Police Station." As crowds clashed with police in the streets, the LSSP leaders debated what to do. None of the Left parties had planned for anything more than a symbolic one-day protest. As the day drew to a close, the LSSP leaders, together with the leaders of the other left parties, issued a statement congratulating the masses and urging them to return to business as usual the next day. Even then, there were incidents where people tried on their own to continue the struggle. In retrospect Patchamuthu feels that the LSSP missed a historic opportunity. "From the start the LSSP had total leadership of a militant mass uprising. It shook the foundations of the government." The Era of Coalition Politics In 1956 Patchamuthu returned to Colombo. He got married, and went to work for his uncle who had taken over the family's printing company, the Nadaraja Press. His first son was born a year later. This was not a happy time for the LSSP. The party had high hopes going into the 1956 elections. But the MEP coalition won in a landslide. The LSSP was reduced to the role of Opposition in parliament. By 1959 Patchamuthu had saved enough to set up his own printing shop. Working hard to support his growing family, Patchamuthu had to withdraw from politics. "I could not be an active member of the LSSP due to my family responsibilities and the need to keep the home fire burning. But I continued my interest and activities in the LSSP." In 1960, after the breakup of the MEP, a section of the LSSP leadership proposed that the party should reverse course and seek its own coalition government with the SLFP. Patchamuthu was against any alliance with "the Sinhalese racial capitalist party of Mrs. Bandaranaike." Although the proposal was defeated, the coalition faction gathered support within the party and raised the issue again as elections approached in 1964. The LSSP was deeply divided. When the proposal was finally put to a vote at a special convention, Patchamuthu voted against it. But it passed by a 2-to-1 majority. At that point the anti-coalition minority walked out of the conference. "Those who left were the cream and the genuine Marxist members of the party." He attended the meeting where they set up a new party, the LSSP (Revolutionary). But he did not join. "My experience with these comrades told me that they were not capable of forming another revolutionary party." He was right. The LSSP(R) soon fragmented. Patchamuthu felt that his duty was to remain with the mother party, which he believed could be drawn back onto the revolutionary path. "I was ignored for some time. In due course, my name was proposed at a party conference for the Central Committee and I was elected. But everyone knew that I was not an admirer of the coalition politics." The Demise of the LSSP Sadly, his optimism in the regeneration of the LSSP was unfounded. Six years later the LSSP joined a second coalition government with Mrs. Bandaranaike. The LSSP leaders ended up authoring a communalist Constitution, smashing strikes, and justifying the brutal police-military crushing of the JVP uprising in 1971. "Their revolutionary Marxist struggles and sacrifices came to a pathetic end." The LSSP was buried at the next elections. "Since then the party functions like a Social Democratic Party. Their mass base was shattered and wiped out - a tragic end to a once Trotskyist revolutionary mass party." Retirement In September 2000, at the age of 80, Patchamuthu resigned from the LSSP. Since retiring from politics, he has suffered serious health problems and weakening sight in one eye. He no longer can write his long letters. Yet, as always, the wonderful twinkle of optimism shines through in his letters to me. "My old heart is still young." Looking back, Patchamuthu summed up his long life in politics: "I have no regrets that my life was spent with comrades who dedicated their life for the emancipation of the working class from exploitation. The LSSP that I knew and under whose banner I fought is no more. Let me conclude by quoting the philosopher Spinoza's famous words: 'Neither to weep nor laugh, but to understand'."
The Central Bank said it would reopen a refurbished century-old building in the heart of Colombo this Wednesday (June 1) as it finds space for its expanding activities. This building, among several others, was neglected for decades because of persistent bomb-threats posed by the LTTE. The Central Bank purchased this historic building in 2009 with the intention of meeting its growing space requirements due to expansion of activities in the recent years and took measures to renovate this historic building taking care to preserve its architectural value, the bank said in a statement. "This picturesque building, constructed in 1908 was originally named ‘Freudenberg Building’ and subsequently the ‘Lloyd’s Building’. Designed by renowned Architect E Skinner and constructed by Clifford Lake & Company, this building signifies British architectural heritage of the late 19th century. The richly decorated conference room, elegant marble corridors, classical motifs, quaint woodwork and attractive exterior design of the building symbolise commercial heydays of early 20th century in Sri Lanka. "Initially, the main occupant of the building was Freudenberg & Co. and by 1917, several floors were leased out to Colombo Apothecaries Co. Ltd., Shanghai Life Insurance Co., Morrison & Bell, Standard Oil Company New York, C W Mackie & Co., Clark Young & Co., The Vacuum Oil Company and the Consul for the United States of America. "In 1933, the joint owners of the building, Walter Edward Moncrieff Peterson, Henry Seymour Jeaffreson, Basil Walter Cuthbert Leefe and Ian Woodford Aitkeen sold the building to Ceylon and General Properties Ltd. In 1950, the ownership was transferred to Badrawathie Fernando Estate Ltd. and then to United Ceylon Insurance Co. Ltd. in 1957. The United Ceylon Insurance Co. Ltd. owned and managed the building as a business premises since 1957 till the Central Bank of Sri Lanka purchased it in 2009. "Located among the buildings which have been neglected for nearly 30 years without any major repairs due to several bomb blasts that took place in the Colombo city and brutal terrorist activities, the renovation of this building will now be able to signal the dawn of a new peaceful era, as well as make a significant contribution to the government’s effort in making Colombo city as one of the most attractive cities in Asia. This building has five stories and a basement floor consisting of over 30,000 sq. ft. office space. In the course of the renovation programme, the building added new elevators, modern electrical and communication system, fire alarm system and air conditioning system. "The Central Bank believes that the renovation of this classic building would encourage other building owners in the Colombo city to also take measures to renovate their buildings which will greatly enhance the appearance of the Colombo City. Further, the renovation of all important buildings of this nature will also serve as a major tourist attraction in the future," the bank said.
Travel time between Colombo and Kandy has been reduced to just 30 minutes with the launch of SriLankan Air Taxi’s daily scheduled service to the hill capital. SriLankan’s Head of Worldwide Sales Mohamed Fazeel said: “SriLankan Air Taxi is transforming travel between cities and towns throughout Sri Lanka for both foreign and local travelers. Air Taxi is a fast, safe and comfortable way to get to wherever you want in the island, and avoid road traffic. Along the way, you get to see some amazing views of our nation’s landscape that you wouldn’t get from a road vehicle or a jet aircraft.” Flights leave Colombo at 9 a.m. and touch down at Polgolla at 9.30 a.m. in contrast to battling traffic on a three-hour road trip. The return flight leaves Kandy at 10 a.m. and touches down in Colombo at 10.30 a.m. All this for an amazing Rs. 4,900 one-way fare and Rs. 9,800 return fare. Flights from Colombo operate at present from the Kelani River, but are to be shifted to the Beira Lake very soon, to provide passengers with an even greater level of convenience by cutting down on road travel to and from the aircraft. SriLankan Air Taxi operates two De Havilland Twin Otter aircraft which each have seating for over 15 passengers. An added advantage is that it’s perfectly safe since it’s a twin-engined aircraft, coupled with SriLankan Airlines’ perfect safety record in 32 years of operations around the globe. Air Taxi now operates to nearly a dozen water-dromes around the country using lakes, rivers and lagoons – Colombo, Kandy (Polgolla & Victoria), Bentota, Hambantota, Ampara, Koggala, Nuwara Eliya, Castlereagh and Tangalle. More locations are being added every month. The floatplanes are also available for charters, scenic flights from several locations around the island, and daily scheduled services to Kandy, Bentota, Koggala, Dikwella and Nuwara Eliya.
The foundation stone for the 522 ft tall Sri Sambuddha Raja Samadhi Buddha statue to be built on behalf of war heroes will be laid at the Kuda Kelettewa Sri Sarangaramaya Kurundankulama Anuradhapura on May 13 at 10.06 a.m. This Buddha statue believed to be the largest Buddha statue in the world is built to redeem a vow made at the Sri Maha Bodhi and the Ruwanweli Seya on May 1 Vesak Poya day in 2007 for the success of the humanitarian operation to eradicate terrorism and reunite the country, said the Viharadhipati and International Friendship Educational-Cultural and Social Service General Secretary Ven Pilapitiye Pannatissa Thera. He said Mass Media and Information Minister Keheliya Ramukwella, ministers and MPs, governors and chief ministers will participate.
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A prominent Sri Lankan social activist has been named among the topmost influential Muslims of 2010 in a recently released publication the 500 Most Influential Muslims 2010 edited by Dr Joseph Lumbard and Dr Aref Ali Nayed. Jezima Ismail is the only Sri Lankan who has been listed among women who have been trailblazers in their fields. Ismail is the founder of the Muslim Women's Research and Action Forum (MWRAF) and has been an educator for over three decades. She serves on various international committees on women's right and is the recipient of various awards in recognition of her work. The report was released by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, an independent research entity affiliated with the Royal Aal Al-Bayt Institute for Islamic thought, and international non-Governmental independent institute headquartered in Amman, Jordan. The Report lists a total of 500 leaders in 15 categories of influence.
*Lanka highest ranked among S Asian nations Sri Lanka has climbed nine positions from 2009 to be ranked 59 among 110 nations, in the World Prosperity Index - 2010, announced yesterday. Sri Lanka is also the highest ranked country among South Asian nations. In the overall rankings Sri Lanka is just behind China, ranked 58. Among other South Asian nations India has been ranked at 88, Nepal 91, Bangladesh 96 and Pakistan 109. According to the 2010 report Sri Lanka which went nine places up is also the third highest gainer from 2009. Indonesia jumped 15 places to be ranked 70 and Algeria went up 12 places to be ranked at 79. The 'Legatum' prosperity index assesses 110 countries accounting for over 90 percent of the world's population and is based on 89 different variables, each of which has a demonstrated effect on economic growth or on personal well-being. The index consists of eight sub-indexes, each of which represents a fundamental aspect of prosperity. It is done by taking into account both economic growth and citizens' quality of life, drawing on data from various sources, including the Gallup World Poll 2009 and UN development Report. The Legatum Prosperity Index is the world’s only global assessment of wealth and well-being. This means it is the only global index that measures both the factors that produce economic growth and those that produce happy citizens. The eight sub indexes which the report evaluates countries are economy, entrepreneurship and opportunity, governance, education, health, safety and security, personal freedom and social capital. In the overall economic rating Sri Lanka is placed 84th. However Sri Lanka is placed 10th in the world for positive perceptions of the countries economic outlook. Also Sri Lanka enjoys the 24th highest level of foreign direct investment globally. Citing the 2009 survey the report says that 87 percent respondents expressed confidence in the countries financial system in 2009, which is the fourth highest proportion worldwide. In the education category Sri Lanka’s overall ranking is 56th. However the report states that an enrollment rate of 99.7 percent of primary age children places Sri Lanka fourth highest in the index. Citing the 2009 survey it says that 84 percent has expressed satisfaction in the system. In the governance category Sri Lanka is placed 43rd. The report states that 94 percent of the population reported confidence in the Government in 2009 survey. Further 65 percent were satisfied with the countries efforts to deal with poverty, 72 per cent with its efforts to preserve environment. Sri Lanka is placed in the top 15 in the two variables. According to the report most people do not believe corruption to be widespread in government or business, a perception that places the country among the best 25 countries. The report citing 2009 survey says that a very high 97 percent of citizens have placed their confidence in the Sri Lanka military while 87 percent have confidence in the judicial system. Sri Lanka is placed on the top 10 globally in both categories.
Sri Lanka has climbed nine positions from 2009 to be ranked 59 among 110 nations, in the World Prosperity Index - 2010, announced yesterday. Sri Lanka is also the highest ranked country among South Asian nations. In the overall rankings Sri Lanka is just behind China, ranked 58. Among other South Asian nations India has been ranked at 88, Nepal 91, Bangladesh 96 and Pakistan 109.
Sri Lanka has earned a rave review as a destination for movie and broadcast productions in the 2011 edition of The Location Guide, the film industry's bible for selecting movie and commercial production locales. The latest edition of The Location Guide featured a separate "Focus" on Sri Lanka, highlighting the island's natural beauty, a film-friendly government and its reasonable production costs. The Guide noted Sri Lanka's wildlife parks, central-highlands tea plantations, miles of pristine beaches and the colonial architecture found. "Dubbed the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, my feeling is that Sri Lanka deserves this title and there is no question that it has great locations for filming and excellent production values with crew rates which would have to be considered the most competitive in the region," founder of the London-based The Location Guide, Murray Ashton wrote in the latest edition. "If you need to film anything remotely associated with the tropics, then you are in the right place." The annual guide has provided film and production companies, directors and producers with essential information and location contacts for filming worldwide since 1998. Sri Lanka boasts an impressive history of filmmaking. It was the setting for memorable movies as Bridge on the River Kwai, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Jungle Book and Tarzan the Ape Man. "When you visit Sri Lanka, it is plain to see why the world's best directors chose it as a location," The Location Guide states. Natural Beauty is just one advantage Sri Lanka offers filmmakers. The Guide also noted the abundance of talent in Sri Lanka, where 300 commercials were filmed in 2009. "The production community is also made of around 700 film professionals working across all production categories," the guide stated. While in Sri Lanka, Ashton was assisted by Gopi Darmaratnam of Sri Lankan film actor Ravindra Randeniya's company, The Film Team (Pvt) Ltd. Driver Anton Gomes drove Ashton nearly 3,000 kilometers around Sri Lanka to complete his report. The lack of red tape for production companies and a lack of film unions are other huge pluses for Sri Lanka, according to the guide. Sri Lanka recently established a 235-acre tele-cinema studio facility, the guide states, and the government and President Mahinda Rajapaksa "strongly support the film and television industries." Relatively few film permits are required, and those needed to film in government or historic buildings, or for street scenes, are easy to obtain with a minimum of paperwork, the guide adds. "Sri Lanka can be considered film-friendly as government institutions increasingly realize the importance the role of filming plays in the promotion of tourism to the country," it states. "I am pleased that The Location Guide sees a bright future for the film industry in Sri Lanka," said Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the United States Jaliya Wickramasuriya. "Sri Lanka has a rich tradition of hosting a variety of film projects over the years, and we have the facilities that will make our country a world leader in film production." Embassy of Sri Lanka in America
Channa Horombuwa chosen for World Architecture Community Awards 2010. See the details in the News & Events page.
In a first for Sri Lanka, architect Channa Horombuwa has been selected as one of the Top 20 winners of the World Architecture Community Awards 20+10+X 7th Cycle 2010 for his design for the Jayampathy Aluvihare House, Kandy. Channa Horombuwa The award-winning house is built on a sloping land overlooking the historic Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, across the Kandy Lake. The unique form of the house is the architect’s response to the natural contours of the land and to the panoramic views of the site. The four bedroom house provides undisturbed views of the Lake and Maligawa from every bedroom. The different spaces of this house are on split levels in responding to the natural contours of the site. The form follows the contour lines and possesses a sculptural form as a result. The two tall sal trees in the front garden further enhance this sculptural quality and frame the views of the Temple, the lake and the distant mountains. Every space of the house responds to the panoramic views of the site. The tall glass screen of the double height living room maintains the inside - outside relationship effectively. The family living area has views of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic and the Lake through the tall glass screen of the living area and opens out to a pool deck located next to the swimming pool on one side. The Master bedroom is located at an intermediate level and two other bedrooms at the family living level. The guest bedroom is located at the entrance lobby level. The interior and exterior of the house are almost entirely white. This retains concentration on the breathtaking views outside, without any possible distraction created by wall panels with contrasting colours. The teak colour of the timber-boarded floor of the living and dining areas is the only element used to break the monotony of white. All balustrades are of steel and designed in such a way to maintain the transparency. Lofty views and open spaces. The roof slab covered with turf provides visual connection with the neighbouring properties and acts as an ideal play space for the three kids of the family. It is connected to the pool area with a steel staircase on one side and to the terrace of the family living area with a cantilevered concrete staircase on the other side. Channa Horombuwa is a Chartered Architect and a member of the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects. A past student of Kingswood College, Kandy, he obtained his Bachelor’s degree with first class honours and Master’s degree in Architecture from the University of Moratuwa. The WA 20+10+X Awards is an international architectural awards programme of the World Architecture Community. Its prestige is reflected in its jury who include Udo Kulterman, Hans Hollein, Fuhihiko Maki, Robert Ivy, Wolf D. Prix, Charles Corea, Michael Sorkin, etc., and the remarkable collection of the winning projects of the first six cycles. The Awards recognize remarkable projects that might otherwise remain unnoticed by the international public, but have the potential to inspire exciting questions about contemporary architectural discourse. Novelty, Originality, and Creativity in design that reflect and inspire a commitment to the art of architecture are the major criteria. This online awards programme is repeated in cycles and also contains an extensive international publication programme of the results in collaboration with architectural journals worldwide. Each cycle receives approximately 1100 projects out of which 250 projects are short listed. The winning 20 projects out of the short listed projects are selected by the votes of the Honorary Members. Suha Ozkan Hon. F AIA is the Founding Chairman of the World Architecture Community and is the former Secretary General of the Aga Khan Architectural Awards. The winning projects are available at Channa’s winning design has been published in Espacio y Confort, an Argentine architectural magazine and in, a Swiss architectural website, in addition to a few local magazines. The Inside Outside, an Indian magazine has expressed interest in featuring this house in their popular architectural magazine.
Today at the higher corridors of the Government, there seems to be a lot of ambitious thinking and forecasting in turning Sri Lanka into a regional hub for trade and logistics, which will follow as one of the next in-line revenue generators after tourism in coming years. Hambantota port under construction Sri Lanka is uniquely situated in the backdrop of the Indian sub-continent and within the closest proximity to the international ocean routes that link Asia to Europe and is currently a partial gateway to the Southern and Eastern part of the Indian peninsula, catering to the trans-shipment services for Indian import and export trade for the Southern states of Tamil Nadu, Karanataka, Hyderabad, Kerala and Kolkata. Having said this, one also has to keep a close watch on the current developments taking place in the ports sector of the Southern Indian region where new and additional port infrastructure is rapidly being enhanced. Further to these developments, there was also a recent announcement from the Indian Govt, on their plans to develop Port Blair Island as a major port, which can possibly be converted for trans-shipment relays from Far-East and Europe to cater to the Southern ports in time to come? With these far-fledged plans of the Indian shipping authorities, we in Sri Lanka will have to also give some serious thinking on how we are also going to develop our port infrastructure and logistics blueprints to ensure that we are not eventually caught up in the race and investments do not go into under-utilization of resources and assets, as today the reasons for major shipping lines calling at Colombo Port is primarily to trans-ship the volumes of containers to the Southern ports of India. (In fiscal year 2009-10, which ended on March 31, major ports in India handled was 6.87 million TEUs from 6.59 million TEUs, a growth of 4.3 percent, covering 12-major ports which includes Kolkata, Paradip, Visakhapatnam, Chennai, Tuticorin, Cochin, New Mangalore, Mormugao, JNPT, Mumbai, Kandla and Ennore). Unless Sri Lanka can also increase our export products substantially to the international markets in USA, Europe and Asia, we may not be in an advantageous situation to attract the main liner vessels to frequently call at our ports. the Govt has to now give utmost priority to re-build and bridge our deficit between import spending and export earnings (foreign exchange). This can be done in several ways, not only exporting our manufactured goods but also exporting our services in the form of value addition through Sri Lanka by way of developing our logistics capabilities by creating the most modern warehousing infrastructure facilities to temporary store and deliver 'JUST-IN-TIME' supply chain management systems to the large manufacturing companies in Southern India, mostly in the Tamil Nadu state, with the opening up of SPEZ's where today multinational brands have already set up their plants which cater to the Indian domestic market as well as to exports markets, a major area of concentration can be found in the automotive sector, where OEMs also have shifted their productions from other locations due to cost effective advantages in India. If Sri Lanka is to position herself as the relay hub for goods and services to the ISC region, we must also develop our professional manpower in the logistics performance area, as without having the right skill and knowledge, in the operations aspects of the global logistics concepts, we cannot provide the international service levels to these ventures. Apart from training and developing human resources, we must also find the right synergy that brings about the economic and service advantage to create the conducive cost benefits, similarly what Singapore offers today as a regional distribution-centre in the Asian region for many large multinational companies operating out of Singapore to cut-down shipping time and the execution of supply with the least time frame from order placement to final delivery to the end users. Even today ISC regional countries, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, the Maldives and Sri Lanka also buys in the raw-materials, semi-finished goods and fully manufactured merchandise from these regional distribution centres. Some points to be considered to accomplish the hub reality is, * Port charges for third country merchandise should have very low handling tariffs. * Port turn-around of merchandise discharge from containers into trans-shipment warehouses should be done within a maximum time frame of 12.24 hrs from the time of arrival of the import vessels. * Trans-shipment rent to be minimal with 14-days free time allowed * Bonded trans-shipment warehousing facilities to be provided within close proximity to the port. * The private sector participation to be granted in the management of the third country cargo warehousing, where inventory stocks can be managed within a bonded system. * Re-export of third country cargo has to have a one 'stop' Customs clearance procedure where shipments can be loaded onto export bound vessels to ISC ports within a maximum of 6-hr time frame, as the whole idea behind is to fulfil 'Just-In-Time' deliveries to the final consignees. * There should be no element of any Customs duties or surcharges charged on third country cargo. * The Govt should be only targeting a revenue of 1-2 percent on the value (FOB) of the third country merchandise to be competitive and collect this revenue only when the re-shipment/trans-shipment has taken place. All incoming shipments will have to be warehoused once the containers have arrived at the port of Colombo. * The Sri Lanka Customs will have to formulate just one type of documentation in line with CUSDE for third Country shipments. * The Logistics service operators will provide a Bankers Guarantee to only cover the 1-2 percent Govt revenue and the rest of the exposure to the values of the third country merchandise will be covered through insurance by the suppliers who will maintain the inventory in Sri Lanka. * A fully integrated IT-system should be linked with all the stake holders of the venture to minimize undue delays in the time third country cargo is transitting through Sri Lanka. By providing a smooth flow of goods through the hub operations, which is a captive advantage it can provide and manage to achieve the efficiency levels of 'JIT' delivery concept, enhancing the reliability in the 'Supply Chain Management' philosophy, which is today the most important criteria in the process from manufacturing to the final consumer. By providing the advantages of a reliable delivery efficiency coupled with cost efficiency, it can significantly turn around the lead-times of shipments/containers through the hub and will be one of the major factors to increase the volumes, whereby the Govt will be able to generate more foreign exchange in total considering all other value added services including cargo insurance that would generate from such a venture. At the same time Sri Lanka can also attract in actual fact more OEM Industry in the automotive sector as the OEM companies can also take the advantage of exports out of Sri Lanka to other world auto markets. It will also be able to bring in automotive component manufacturing industry to the Sri Lanka manufacturing fold instead of only looking at ready-made garments, which today is showing symptoms of becoming gradually a unsustainable industry from the statistics that are known with several garment factories closing down instead of opening new units. The country must now look forward to getting itself into other potential light industries more technology driven and do not become too much dependent on the old cash-cow. By creating an efficient hub, catering to logistics and inventory management and providing the necessary infrastructure, Sri Lanka can continue to maintain its shipping edge due to its geographical position in the Indian ocean. By guaranteeing a 'JIT' delivery commitment with a lead-time reduction of 50 percent in comparison to goods supplied from the regional logistics hub in Singapore we will be able to harness two fold economic advantage. There are several value additions that can be provided by the logistics providers, from pick and pack, from bulk into consumer packaging, MRP price labelling with bar-code maintaining inventories for re-export to the ISC region and beyond even looking at some of the Central Asian countries. Many other value added services required by final consignees can be provided which then would also generate employment in the logistics services industry and even bring in additional opportunities to the banking sector, by way of developing the required financial environment to multi-national suppliers for cross-trading, from inventories maintained at Colombo.
We have professionally handled the brokering of the biggest real estate sale in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka has earned the 66th slot in a Newsweek magazine survey to pick the best country in the world to offer a healthy and prosperous life to its citizens.
Sri Lanka has earned the 66th slot in a Newsweek magazine survey to pick the best country in the world to offer a healthy and prosperous life to its citizens.
25 - 100 acres teak/mahogany plantation in any part of the island. contact
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A star class hotel in Nuwara Eliya (with 108p land) Central Hills, Sri Lanka has been listed for sale. US$ 2.5m Expression of interest to
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Company Registration & Secretarial Services, Trade Mark Registration, Accounting & Auditing, Registration of EPF/ETF, Taxation, Budgeting & Cash Flow Statements, Feasibility Reports, Project Proposals & Business Plans, BOI, LRC, UDA, TAX & VISA related matters, Buying or Selling Lands, Buildings, Hotels, Travel, Transport, Holiday, Any type of legal matters, Property management, Emergency Services such as medical, ambulance and specialist consultancy, Weddings or other family functions, Advertising, Press conferences and Event management, Film locations & artistes search, Insurance, Ticketing or any requirements. Prompt service @ affordable fee. Contact us on 072 3446779 or send details to
Prime beach front bare lands are available in Arugam Bay, Eastern coastal tourist destination of Sri Lanka. Very close to the world's best surfing point. Ideal location for Tourist Projects and caravan parks. Investment @ US$ 17,500 per acre. Blocks of 1 acre to 10 acres available. Please contact vijay on 072 3446779 or email
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Heart of Colombo 15000 sq. ft. commercial building on 41p land with parking for 20 vehicles, with a monthly rental income of USD10,000 available for immediate sale. Price SLR 250 million. contact immediately 072 3446779 Vijay for appointment.
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Please check the Ad Zone section for all details of the books listed for sale and the seller's contact details. Kind Donations too are accepted for the educational purpose.
> Imagine owning a stately century old Scottish mansion situated in its own four acres of landscaped garden in Nuwara Eliya - Ceylon's Little England. The property contains original features and fittings as well as furniture and many other artefacts of its bygone heritage. It is close to the city with all infrastructure and it's available now for outright sale to a nostalgic discerning buyer. USD 10 million.
Picturesque property facing Gampola - Nuwara Eliya main road, having an extend of 198p, 20 mts drive to Nuwara Eliya. Suitable for Holiday House, Resort Hotel, Leisure Centre or Meditation Centre. Investment US$ 38000.
14.5p land/four storey building/13000 sq.ft./facing 30 feet wide road, 60 KVA standby Generator, Car park for 12 vehicles, fully air conditioned, tiled/carpet. 100 mts to Duplication Road. Investment US$ 830,000.
106.5p valuable land in highly developed Jaela town. 20 mts drive to KIA. All infrastructure available for Office/Shopping complex, Vehicle sales Centre, Logistic Centre or private hospital. Investment US$ 785,000.
5 acres flat land 300 meters to New Col-Katunayake Express Way bordering interchange. Ideally suited for Logistic Centre, Container Yard, Construction Yard, Educational Institute, Hospital or Hotel complex. 10 minutes drive to KIA. Investment US$ 590,000 only.
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upstair house near two international schools - Lyceum and Leeds. value 10m going for 7.5m or nearest offer. contact 072 3446779
A colonial bungalow on a two acre landscaped garden is for sale in Kalutara district. Fully renovated and furnished. Once in a life time opportunity to own this unique property. Contact 072 3446779
Broadband Internet Cafe in For for sale with all equipment and connection. Rs.500,000 immediate. balance negotiable. Pls contact on 072 3446779
Come home, let’s rebuild sri lanka: President Independence Day message to expatriates By Sandun A Jayasekera President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his Independence Day address to the nation yesterday extended an open invitation to all Sri Lankan expatriates to return to Sri Lanka and be part of the country’s reconstruction, development and peace process. The 61st Independence Day celebrations were held at Galle Face Green last morning with a colourful march past, an air and sea display by the Sri Lanka Army, Navy, Air Force, Police and the Civil Defence Force. Flanked by the Commanders of the armed forces and the Police Chief, President Rajapaksa hoisted the National Flag and received a 21-gun salute. The President’s address to the Nation was preceded by a Guard of Honour provided by the three armed forces and the police. In a long speech where he outlined his vision for the country, a resolute President Rajapaksa said it was time for Sri Lankans who have left their motherland because of a war that had dragged on for more than 20 years, to return to the land of their birth and to the places they lived in. In his address to the Nation he said: “On this important occasion, on behalf of the entire Sri Lankan nation, I extend an open invitation to all Sri Lankans – Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher, Malay and all other communities, who left this country because of war to return to your motherland. Whatever the number of countries in the world, there is no place that is safer to anyone than the land of ones birth. “We have raised the National Flag today over a motherland that is being united in keeping with the heartfelt wishes and prayers of our people. My dear people who through sacrifice of life have come forward to defend the freedom of our land and through their blessings and every thought supported that struggle. “However, due to repeated foreign incursions and invasions there were many challenges to the progress of the nation. The unbroken progress of her knowledge and technology was suddenly interrupted. With the dawn of Independence from British rule on February 4, 1948, she gained the opportunity to move towards progress in a manner that was inherent to our nation. “Although every year in the past Sri Lanka has commemorated Independence through 30 years, she has have lived in the midst of an illegal, armed, terrorist movement. Therefore, throughout this period Sri Lanka could not celebrate true Freedom. Due to this terrorism the Sinhala and Muslim people who lived in the north were compelled to flee from their traditional lands. This period saw the massacre of Buddhist worshipers near the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, at Anuradhapura. At Kaththankudi Muslims were killed while worshiping in their mosque. There were terrorist attacks on the pinnacle of Buddhist worship, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy. Innocent people were collectively massacred in many places of this land. “That is not all, for the first time in the history of our land Tiger terrorists carried out ethnic cleansing. They sought to establish a fascist state in which the Sinhala and Muslim people, as well as the Tamil people who were not prepared to bow before them, would not live. A large number of democratic leaders of the Tamil people were killed by the terrorists. Similarly, many of our national leaders were assassinated by the forces of terror. The entire country was terrorized. “Sri Lanka became the victim of the most powerful terrorist organization in the world. We had come to the verge of the separatist terrorists achieving their goal of dividing the country and establishing a separate state of Tamil Eelam. We were being compelled by some administrators of that time to except the so-called peace brought about by the division of the country, and the victory of the forces of terror. Many foreign forces attempted to persuade us that the path to achieving peace was to be subjugated by a terrorist organization that had power on land, sea and air as well as ruthless suicide killers. Together with this, some international institutions sought to show our country as a failed State, which pained the hearts and minds of all of us at the unfortunate fate that was sought to be bestowed on the land of our birth. We were finally challenged by this unfortunate fate that our great motherland could no more bear. “At the 2005 presidential election, you handed to me and to our government the challenge of being victorious over the threat against us. We faced this daring challenge with determination and to somehow achieve victory over it. We have now been able, within a short span of two and half years, to almost completely defeat the cowardly forces of terror that had wrapped our entire nation in fear through several decades. This great victory has been brought to our country through our Army, Navy, Air Force, Police, the Police Special Task Force and Civil Defence Corps carrying out the task before them, jointly and with great dedication. “Our troops have given us the opportunity to see the dawn of an honourable peace for the country. They have sacrificed their flesh, blood, sinews and life itself to bring this great historic opportunity to our motherland. Our troops were able to carry forward the battle against terror with great care so as not to cause harassment to the innocent Tamil people. The dignified peace that is now dawning upon us becomes greater and more unique than the peace enjoyed by the people of other countries, because it is built on the immense sacrifice of these heroes,” President Rajapaksa emphasized. I am confident that in a few days we will decisively defeat the terrorist force that many repeatedly kept saying was invincible. However, we should not think that with this alone we have overcome all challenges before us.”
Four bed roomed very spacious house with garage, garden, modern comforts available for immediate purchase. Price 12million but can be negotiated for a reasonable price.
2.25 acres land available at Nawagamuwa, Kaduwela 25 KM from Colombo Port. main road access. High/low voltage electricity nearby. offers welcome. for details call 072 3446779.
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COLOMBO: Work on the tallest twin tower in Sri Lanka will commence with a ‘ground-breaking’ ceremony next week. Suchirindia, a Hyderabad based business group has ventured into the construction of the twin towers of 40 floors and 70 floors in Colombo in collaboration with NEB Rapid Infrastructure and the Government of Sri Lanka. It is being developed at a cost of US$ 250 million. The residential tower is close to the Parliament complex and proposed main terminals of the metro railway. The total built-up area for the commercial tower including the convention centre and the residential tower would be two and a half million square feet.
BOI Approved Higher Educational Institution 12800 sq.ft. brand new fully tiled two floor building on large land with provision for third floor, with 1500 sq.ft canteen and other infrastructure situated in Piliyandala. Ideal for IT, BPO Centre, Paramedical, International School. Vocational training Centre etc..
Consultancies in the nongovernmental and private sector undertaken by senior professional. Specializes in report writing, project feasibility studies as well as ground research on development issues. Contact: Phone – 2730898 / 5756039 / 0777 273395
14.8p bare land available at Bambalapitiya, Glen Aber Place. Plan approved for 6 floor apartments. SLR 4m per perch. Offers welcome. Ocean view property. Tax holiday etc.
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H.M. Premathilaka Senior Lecturer, Department of Estate Management and Valuation, University of Sri Jayawardhanapura Land is a form of accumulating and transferring wealth from generation to generations. It is the foundation of all forms of human activity. Land which is a scarce natural resource plays a key role in development. Optimum allocation of land is important to ensure human welfare. There are two kinds of mechanisms for distributing land resources within a society, land markets and governments. The main mechanism of distributing land resources within the City of Colombo is the land market. The Sri Lankan economy and society is vastly different to what it was in early 1960s. This study examines the impact of economic, social, legal and policy changes that have occurred during this period on land market. It is assumed that the effects of above facts on land market are reflected through land values and frequency of land transactions. In order to examine the above 420 land prices from past land sales were collected from five municipal wards and were categorised on the basis of two types of economic and political regimes, viz liberal regimes and dirigisme regimes and analysed. This study shows that the land market development and changes are associated with different regimes. Liberal regimes achieved higher economic growth and land market development and changes than the dirigisme regimes. Introduction Sri Lanka is committed to an open market economy, which implies development through perfectly competitive market. Land which is a scarce natural resource place a key role in development. Land is the foundation of all forms of human activity. It is the means of life without which human beings could never have existed an on which their continued existence and progress depend. Hence optimum allocation of the limited supply of this unique resource within local, regional, national and international levels is an importance aspect to ensure human welfare. There are two kinds of mechanisms for distributing land resources within a society, land markets and governments. The main mechanism of distributing land resources within the city of Colombo is the land market. Based on extensive literature review of the factors affecting property values in urban areas, some of the important components of property values can be listed as follows. (a) Physical factors external to the property. The geographic location, the environment, (class of residents, and the type of residences in the immediate neighborhood and proximity to places of importance) public transport and infrastructural services such as electricity, water, sewerage drainage and telephone services. (b) Factors integral to the property, the physical factors of the property (lie of the land, soil, shape and size) accessibility and economic and legal attributes and/or liabilities. (c) The national and local economic conditions which determine the level of property values. Land values are also influenced by the social, cultural factors and life pattern of the people in the particular area. Land values change when the above described factors that influence value change. This study examines the impact of economic, social, legal and policy changes that have occurred during this period on land market and it is mainly focused on pre liberalisation era and post liberalisation era. If land markets function effectively, price signals can provide the information needed for efficient land allocation, where markets are defective, price signals work at less than full efficiency. (Harvey, 1996). Effective functioning of land market depends on the national and local economic conditions which determine the level of property values, pattern of land ownership and distribution, land titling and registration, availability of a survey plan to identify the property with the boundaries, reduced transaction costs, transparency in transaction, balance knowledge of buyers and sellers, ability to obtain financial facilities and easy access to other relevant information. (Premathilaka, 1998). Development Over time the demand for land resources changes, brought about by changes in the size, income and tastes of the population, the rate of growth of economic activity, methods of transport, techniques of production and distribution. On the supply side, existing buildings wear out or become less suitable to present uses, and the cost of constructing new buildings or adapting old buildings changes. Development is the response to such changes. The fifty-eight years since the independence have witnessed significant structural changes and qualitative transformations in the economy. The predominantly agricultural economy of the 1950's has transformed into a diversified one. This diversification, which was very gradual till the late 1970's, gained momentum in the last two and a half decades. The most notable feature of this transformation is the structural change where manufacturing and services make a higher contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) than agriculture. By 2004 industry contributed 26.5 per cent of GDP, while agriculture, forestry and fishing together contributed 17.9 per cent of GDP. This is in sharp contrast to the structure of the economy in 1950, when agriculture's contribution was 41 per cent and manufacturing (consisting mainly of processing tea, rubber and coconut) accounted for only 16 per cent of GDP. This contribution of services rose from 41 per cent in 1950 to 55.7 per cent of GDP by 2004. (Central Bank Annual Reports 1951 - 2004). Though, there is a tendency to think of the period before 1977 as one of little change. In fact, there were significant economic and social transformations that occurred between 1950 and 1977. This period also witnessed profound changes in the ownership and management of economic enterprises. Bus transport was nationalised in 1958. In 1961 the Bank of Ceylon was nationalised and the People's Bank and the Insurance Corporation were established as State enterprises. From 1970 to 1977 the country moved into an import-substitution industrial strategy. The plantations were taken over by the State in 1972-74 and several State industrial enterprises were also established. In short, the commanding heights of the economy were vested in the State. The Post liberalisation era The economic reforms introduced in November 1977 marked a watershed in the country's economy. They reversed the policies pursued from 1970 to 1977. The economic reforms included the liberalisation of trade and exchange controls, and the introduction of an economic strategy dependent on private investment and market forces. Foreign investment was encouraged and a greater reliance was placed on export. To support these policies, the Government adopted a unified exchange rate, devalued the Sri Lankan Rupee and adopted a floating exchange rate. These policy reforms relied on large-scale support from international agencies, notably the IMF and World Bank and donor countries. These reforms of 1977 were a sharp break from past economic regimes. The new policies transformed a closed tightly-controlled inward looking economy into a market-oriented outward-looking one. It was the beginning of a process that laid greater emphasis on private enterprise and lesser reliance on State owned and controlled economic enterprises. Foreign assistance was aggressively sought and successfully obtained. The multi-lateral agencies supported the liberalised measure. The IMF provided balance of payments support, while the World Bank gave long-term credit for development programmes and arranged donor assistance through the annual Aid Club meetings. The fiscal policy orientation changed drastically. Fiscal policies were used to support the market orientation and private sector emphasis on economic growth and to create a climate conducive to private investment and private economic enterprises. The reduction in taxes and the use of a wide range of tax incentives encouraged investment. Direct taxation became an instrument for resource allocation rather than to mobilise resources for public investment or for income distribution. The emphasis in government expenditure shifted to investment, particularly in infrastructure and large-scale projects like the Accelerated Mahaweli Scheme, rather than on consumption, welfare and social development expenditure. (Jayasundara 1986: 56-57). The economic policies pursued included an urban renewal programme, the development of economic infrastructure, the establishment of a Free Trade Zone and the implementation of an Accelerated Mahaweli Development Programme, which was to increase agricultural production and enhance energy by the generation of hydro electricity. The economic reforms and enhanced foreign funds led to a high rate of economic growth till 1983, when ethnic violence resulted in a setback. The subsequent period of terrorism undermined business confidence, foreign investment and tourism, besides dislocating agriculture, fisheries and a few industries in the North. The economic growth rate fell from 4.3 per cent in 1986 to 1.5 per cent in 1987. The insurgency in the South from 1987 to 1989 dislocated work and seriously impaired economic activity. In 1988-89 growth averaged only 2.5 per cent. The weak economic performance in the late 1980s led the government to adopt further structural reforms to strengthen budgetary management, reducing inflation and improving the balance of payments and external reserve position that had weakened considerably. The economy was liberalised further after 1989. The process of privatisation gained momentum and by end 1993, 42 State enterprises had been privatised. Further, most of the State owned plantations were handed over to 22 companies for management. The two State banks were re-structured to meet the capital adequacy requirements by the infusion of Rs. 24 billion and restrictions on foreign investment in the Colombo Stock Market were removed. The change of government in 1994 was very significant. For the first time since independence, despite a change of government, a continuity of economic policies was assured. The government announced its commitment to continue market friendly open economic policies. It too gave private enterprise the lead role in economic activity and pledged to support private enterprise and characterized its strategy as "Open Economic Polices With a Human Face". The government liberalised trade further by decreasing tariffs, reduced corporate and personal taxation to a maximum of 30 per cent. The corporate tax rate was reduced to 15 per cent for enterprises in agriculture, fisheries, livestock and tourism. It gave further incentives for foreign investment and embarked on a far-reaching programme of privatisation. The government privatised, inter alia, the plantations, telecommunications, the National Development Bank and AirLanka. It introduced a new safety net for the poor, Samurdhi, which was similar to the earlier Janasaviya programme. The government also gave incentives for garment industries to be established in the regions and introduced a number of measures to assist agriculture. Economic growth has varied significantly within this period. In the 1950's the economy grew by an annual average of 3 per cent; in the 1960's by 4.7 per cent: and in the 1970's by 3.9 per cent. Economic growth has been somewhat higher in the last two decades. In the 1980's we achieved an economic growth of 4.3 per cent, and in the 1990's it was still higher at 5.2 per cent per year. In the last five years (2000-2004) the economy grew by only 4 per cent. The periods of very low growth have been due to external shocks, internal disruptions or both. In the 1970 - 74 period the annual economic growth was only 2.9 per cent. During this period, adverse terms of trade caused by sharp oil price hikes and international food grin shortages, created enormous strains on foreign exchange resources and fiscal operations. The insurgency of 1971 disrupted nearly all economic activities and increased government expenditures on defence from less than 1 per cent of GDP to 4 per cent of GDP in 1972 - 75. In 1971 the growth rate dropped to as low as 0.2 per cent. A severe drought, coinciding with the escalation of international prices of food, fertiliser and oil, led to severe hardships and constraints on economic growth. Again in 1987 - 89 the annual average economic growth was only 2.2 per cent. The insurgency, which disrupted nearly all economic activities, was mainly responsible for this severe dip in economic growth from an annual average of 4.8 per cent in the previous three years to only 2.2 per cent per year in the next three years (1987-89). Once again there was a slowing down in the economy prior to 1987, partly due to the North-East war and partly owing to a slowing down of foreign investment and budgetary difficulties (Atukorala and Jayasuriya 1994). Several other years of low growth were associated with internal shock. In 1983-84 economic growth slipped to 5 per cent from the average of 6.2 per cent for the 1978-82 period owing to the ethnic violence in July 1983. Economic growth fell to as low as 3.8 per cent in 1996, when drought conditions, not only affected domestic agricultural production, but created an energy crisis, which disrupted industrial production. In contrast, periods of high growth did not suffer such external and internal shocks. Alternating economic policies were a significant factor in retarding the country's economic growth. The discontinuity of economic policies was an important factor for slowing economic growth. Fundamentally different economic regimes alternated giving rise to considerable uncertainty, reversal of economic polices and an unsatisfactory climate for foreign and domestic investment. These alternating policy regimes provide useful perspectives on economic growth as differing economic growth rates are associated with different regimes. Periods of economic liberalisation, free trade, lesser controls and lesser State management achieved higher rates of economic growth than periods of State control of the economy. The administrative area coming under the purview of Colombo Municipal Council is relatively small in extent 37.29 which accommodates les than one million inhabitants. The city experienced a slow population growth rate, i.e., annual growth rate during the period 1981 - 2001 was 0.4%. The current city population (as per population census of 2001) was 642,020 people, which is only an increase of 79,570 people (12%) during the last 30 year period since 1971. Method It is assumed that the levels of values in the property market is influenced by the economic growth levels political stability and government policy of the country. In order to examine the impact of economic, legal and policy changes 420 land prices from past land sales of last forty years were collected from Municipal Wards of Kommpagngnaweediya, Wekanda, Hunupitiya and Cinnamon Garden of Colombo City and analysed according to the two types of economic and political regions. Physical development (change of skyline), opening of new roads, infrastructure facilities, service sector improvements (opening of branch of various banks) were observed and identified as the indicators of development and change influencing level of property values in the study area. It is observed that the property values reached its peak in 1969 and gradually falls down up to 1977 and again starts increasing since 1977. Further confirms the Chief Valuer's statement on property market in his administration report for the year 1978. This study clearly shows that there is a positive relationship between economic growth and level of land values. Reasons for the cause of downward trend in the level of property values during 1970 - 1977 were examined and found that the State has acquired some private properties in the study area during this period discouraging private sector investment in the property market. Some of the legislative enactments passed by the parliament during this period are the reasons for it. (i) Protection of Tenancy Special Provision Act, No. 28 of 1970. (ii) Direct intervention on private property rights by the government. Land Reform Law, No. 1 of 1972 to reduce the concentration of ownership of land in a few hands, ceiling limit to ownership of property (maximum 50 acres) (iii) Ceiling on Housing Property Law No. 1 of 1973. (iv) Rent Act, No. 7 of 1972 (direct price control) (v) Land Reform Amendment Act No. 39 of 1975 (Acquisition of Tea Estates owned by foreign companies). It is observed during this period some of the tea companies sold their offices and tea stores in the study area. (vi) Business Undertakings (Acquisition) Act, No. 35 of 1971 Urban Development Authority Law, No. 41 of 1978 was enacted and the Urban Development Authority was established in 1978 with the objective to promote integrated planning and implementation of economic social and physical development of certain areas as may be declared by the Minister and the Colombo Municipal area was declared as a development area on September 30, 1978. It is observed by 1977/78 property values started rising. By this time there were several important features that influence the property development activates as introduced by the State, and also by the private sector. The State had given a lot of prominent, and attractive concessions to investors on housing development, and the number of private property developers in the Urban Sector was growing. This trend continued until 1983. As a result by 1978/79 property values started rising. By this time there were several important features that influence the property development activities as introduced by the State, and also by the private sector. The State had given a lot of prominent and attractive concessions to investors on housing development, and the number of private property dev elopers in the Urban Sector was growing. This trend continued until 1983. In 1983 due to the unsettled conditions that prevailed in the country there was a slight setback in the Urban property market, but still there was no reduction in property values, the number of transactions that took place were few. By 1986 the price of Urban property started rising again. During this period property values in major cities rose rapidly as there was instability in most of the remote areas in the country due to insurgent activities. During the period 1990/93 it is observed very steep increases in Urban property values both in the case of commercial and residential properties. It is observed that in 1995 the economic conditions of the country was not stable and a decline in the share market, nevertheless there was no decline in the property market. Investments on property market mainly on Urban property seemed to be the best secured investment. The reasons observed for rapid escalation in land prices is mainly due to the physical development in the study area. Produced by Lake House Copyright © 2008 The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.
The further you go into the past the lesser your chances of meeting the word poverty. This may come as a surprise to you, but that’s because you and I have been taught to look at the past as a dark, gloomy, dismal and altogether a primitive era compared to the state of enlightenment we are living in now. When we see a thatched roof, mud walls and cow dung floors, what comes to our minds is ‘poverty’; but as an adequate source of shelter only a foreigner, surprisingly, can see its advantages. Let us see what the foreigner says: “Such a house, since the rain cannot beat very much against the walls, can stand unharmed for a long time. The floor is also made of beaten clay, and on their feast days they take fresh cow dung, mix it with water into a thin paste, and smear with their hands both floor and walls quite flat with it. Although while being put on it smells badly, yet after a few days, when it is dry, this changes to a pleasant odour; and the ants, which are a great plague in this land, avoid it,” written by Heydt, a German who served the Dutch in the 17 hundreds, living in the Maritime Provinces for three years. Another foreigner, a British Civil Servant, A.B.Denham, who had even a closer look at our people and country makes the following reflections on poverty. He was here at the turn of the 19th century and what provoked him to make his reflections on poverty was “the enormous quantities of goods which are poured by the West into the Eastern store “ and “the extraordinarily few wants of the Eastern people.” He says that comforts among the people of the East have to be created. “The villager never possessed any.” All he had was his mud built house and the clothing and the household goods, which could be stuffed into a small bag to flee unencumbered into the jungle at a pinch. Comfort “Such conditions in the East,” Denham goes on, “do not indicate a state of poverty, but a complete lack of comfort, the absence of which was not felt...The chroniclers of the reigns of Eastern monarchs do not concern themselves with the standard of comfort among the subject people for the very good reason that no historian of those days would have understood what was meant by such an expression, or if he had would have scoffed at the idea.” So, having introduced comfort to a people who had nothing to do with it, we have today, thanks to the imperialists who introduced it, not for the welfare of the people but for their own profits, and in consequence we are impoverished today. Poverty has been here with us for a while and it may be here for some more time because it is a useful slogan at election times to mislead people by promising to ‘eradicate poverty.’ The United Nations, not to thwart the aspirations of our politicians as such but to join them, is planning to introduce a series of ‘quick win’ proposals under their Millennium Plan to eradicate poverty. They have set the target year for eradication as 2015. The proposals don’t seem to look as being any too startling because all their plans seem to be only a going back to the days when things went on smoothly before the ‘comfort’ program stepped in. By the way, the Millennium poverty eradication ‘quick win’ plan needs $40-60 billion for a year. Compared to what the US is reported to be spending on its armaments contracts amounting to $230 billion a year, the poverty eradication money is just a pittance. One way the UN has proposed to help poverty eradication is to introduce what we call free education and they call ‘elimination of school fees.’ This is not a new scheme at all, but one that they may even have borrowed from our country where education right along our history has always been free, and I don’t mean the days of the Kannangara Plan, but our ancient pirivena system of studies where the monks acted like talent scouts to spot the brighter students among the young. And neither was education compulsory then. Being a free people we only created opportunities for all those interested in pursuing either linguistic studies or the arts and crafts and sciences in which Sri Lanka has done pretty well. A case in point is the creation of some of the finest water management engineers the world has seen. And all this without the help of any ‘quick win’ Millennium Plan. Eradicate poverty Supporting breast-feeding is another of the plans that are thought of as being able to eradicate poverty. This country never had anything except breast-feeding in all its history. If a mother ran out of milk, which was exceptional, then they looked around for a foster mother to help out. Such co-operative efforts went into disuse with the arrival of the business fraternity from the West. The business fraternity took a lot of trouble to persuade the medical fraternity to advice mothers to change over to the bottle. And along with the ‘comfort’ plan introduced to our country by the imperialists it didn’t take very long to persuade mothers to change over to the bottle. “Stuff and nonsense” says the Millennium Plan now, and they are determined to go ahead to persuade mothers to throw out the bottle and get back to the breast. User fees for basic health care is a term that is being used to say that in developing countries, which is the polite form of telling us that we are poor countries, who are now paying for obtaining medical help to keep ourselves alive, must be discouraged. There was a time in very recent history when medicine was freely given in all state hospitals in this country. Our then international money-lenders frowned on us for this and screwed our then Finance Minister, Dr N.M.Perera, to charge twenty five cents per patient. Now all this is forgotten - the Millennium Plan will now take the health costs under its wing. We had no problems, however, under our own kings when medical treatment was freely given with the King himself acting the physician. Millennium Plan Community health training in rural areas, another one of those ‘quick win’ plans to eradicate poverty, is to be introduced under the Millennium Plan. But this is something that we always had, with each village having its own ayurvedic physician, who advised patients to look after themselves with inguru-kothhamlli treatment as a preliminary before visiting him, and the payment in any case was a gift of a sheaf of betel leaves. There is also evidence that our women could also look after themselves quite well without any medical assistance. “The Sinhala women,” says Heydt who is mentioned above,” are not accustomed to have midwives, as do ours, to assist at births or give a helpful hand; but they take to them only the women of their neighbours, who serve as midwives. They rarely die in childbirth, and such a death appears strange to them, from which one can deduce the ease of their bringing-forth.” Then there is going to be instruction for women on women’s rights as part of the poverty eradication campaign. How the two are related is somewhat difficult to conceive. There was a time, however, in the history of our country when the Sinhala law prevailed from north to south and from east to west and this law was particularly generous to our women. Marriage and divorce was a very simple affair. And when it came to divorce, “They divorce for a small cause, and it is no disgrace among them... When they cannot live with content together, they separate themselves, and the man seeks another wife and the wife another husband.” As for any conditions for separation there are none, for the law entitles her to take with her, “the dowry that she brought, perhaps a few heads of cattle, some clothes, and now and then, if she is of higher rank, some slaves; and goes to her parents or nearest relatives or other friends, until she sees another opportunity better to her liking than the first.” So, as we can see, the Millennium Plan has nothing new to offer us except to restore now the ‘balance of power’ destroyed by our puritanical Victorians from England. Tree planting And one more item from a list of about 14. The Millennium Plan recommends tree planting as a measure to eradicate poverty. We had prophets around 2000 years ago who asked us not only to care for trees but also for wild animals and in fact the entire environment as the Arahat Mahinda did when he surprised King Devanampiya Tissa while he was hunting animals, in the following words: “O great King, the birds of the air and the beasts have as equal a right to live and move about in any part of the land as thou. The land belongs to the people and all living beings; thou art only the guardian of it.” And this has its echo in a modern prophet who says, “The teaching of the Buddha... enjoins a reverent and non-violent attitude not only to all sentient beings but also, with great emphasis, to trees. Every follower of the Buddha ought to plant a tree every few years and look after it until it is safely established, and the Buddhist economist can demonstrate without difficulty that the universal observation of this rule would result in a high rate of genuine economic development independent of any foreign aid.” - E.F. Schumaker ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Produced by Lake House Copyright © 2006 The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.
Sri Lanka's former Ambassador to the United States of America Bernard Goonatilake, succeeds H. M. G. S. Pallihakkara as the new Chairman of the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (SLITHM). Minister of Tourism, Milinda Moragoda has made this appointment with effect from August 01, 2008. Goonatilake is a senior diplomat and former Secretary to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. He has already had a distinguished career as a public servant, serving as Ambassador to the People's Republic of China, and to the United Nations in Geneva amongst other significant posts. More recently he has been Acting Ambassador to the United Nations in New York which followed on from his appointment as the first Secretary General to the Secretariat for the Coordination of the Peace Process (SCOPP). Goonatilake comes in as the Chairman to SLITHM as H. M. G. S. Pallihakkara takes up a new appointment as the Ambassador, Permanent Representative for Sri Lanka to the United Nations in New York. Tourism Minister, Milinda Moragoda appointed Pallihakkara as the firstever Chairman of the newly created Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (SLITHM). This followed the promulgation of the Tourism Act, No. 35 of 2005 which came into force last year. Pallihakkara has steered the SLITHM through its transition with great leadership and determination. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Produced by Lake House Copyright © 2006 The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.
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The Government is to restrict permission for expatriate workers in Sri Lanka by directing Government Agents to first ascertain whether locally qualified personnel are available. It is only thereafter that foreign personnel assigned by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) will be given work permits to serve, in terms of new guidelines. These guidelines were issued by the Government on Wednesday. In terms of these, only exceptions to this rule will be the positions of a head or deputy of the NGOs concerned. A series of restrictions have also been imposed. Hereafter foreigners will be granted residence visas only for a maximum of three years to work in Sri Lanka, under the new guidelines. At present, such visas are renewable annually on the recommendations of the organisation concerned. The Ministry of Internal Administration has sent a circular regarding the new rules to all ministries, Provincial Chief Secretaries, Government Agents/District Secretaries, heads of departments and Sri Lanka’s diplomatic missions abroad. Under the new rules, foreigners will be required to submit a security clearance report from the security authorities of their respective countries and they will be forbidden from engaging in any political or unlawful activity during their stay in Sri Lanka. In the circular, the Ministry said that while acknowledging the contribution made by NGOs or INGOs operating in Sri Lanka towards reconstruction and rehabilitation activities during the disaster periods, it was necessary to streamline procedures for granting of visas to such expatriates working for these organizations. The Controller-General of Immigration and Emigration may carry out any investigation including security concerns in consultation with the Ministry of Defence or intelligence agencies before granting entry or residence visas. When the applicant gets a clearance certificate or work permit issued by the Ministry of Defence, visas will be granted for the validity period of the certificate. In cases where it has been found that the expatriates or dependents have engaged in any unlawful or political activity during the stay in Sri Lanka, the Immigration and Emigration Controller General will take immediate action to cancel the visa of such expatriate and deport him or her with immediate effect. According to the circular, the Attorney General will also initiate legal action with the assistance of Police against an expatriate who violates the law before any decision is taken by the Controller to deport the expatriate. For organizations that are working in the provinces, the Government Agent, the District Secretary or Divisional Secretaries should make preliminary recommendations for visa requests of NGOs functioning in their areas. They have been asked to ensure that the NGO requesting a visa for an expatriate, has initially attempted to recruit locally and has been unable to find a suitable person locally due to unavailability of required manpower/expertise in the country. This will be applicable to posts other than the posts of Chief and Deputy Chief of the organization. The concept here is that NGOs should recruit locally as far as possible and should only find expertise for the posts which cannot be filled locally due to unavailability of suitable candidates, the circular points out. Foreign nationals who arrive on entry or prior visas should apply for residence visas within one month upon arrival. The ministry has told all parties concerned to ensure strict compliance with these rules.
Chamber of Construction Industry which represents all stakeholders of the domestic construction industry drawn from both public and private sectors ranging from large multinational corporations to micro enterprises, satisfied a long felt need of the industry by publishing the first ever construction industry catalogue. This was another initiative launched by the Chamber towards enhancing the capacity and competitiveness of the domestic construction industry. The construction industry trade catalogue has become a technical reference document for the industry professional. It reflects the capacity of the domestic construction industry to foreign investors, multidisciplinary consultants, contractors, multilateral and bilateral donors among other stakeholders. It provides vendors of construction related goods and services with a most cost effective channel of reaching their targeted clients and customers. The 2008 edition of this catalogue will have a free of charge circulation of 5000 copies that will be received by stakeholders of the domestic construction industry, diplomatic, consular and other representatives in Sri Lanka, multilateral banks and donor agencies, international non-governmental agencies and Sri Lankan missions abroad among others. The 2008 version is more comprehensive and is expected to be encyclopedic in terms of listing products and services across the total spectrum of the market. In view of the Chambers’ role as a focal point for promotion of export of construction related professional services, contracting capacities and other construction inputs, Chamber will facilitate circulation of this publication to targeted export markets in the Gulf region with special reference to the State of Qatar, Sultanate of Oman, United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Bahrain. The catalogues’ maiden publication in the year 2006 has attracted commendations from both statutory authorities and the market as being on par with similar international publications of this nature. Construction Industry Trade Catalogue 2008 is expected to be released in November 2008.
Director HR Residencies Ananda Jayasekere, Chairman Benison International Dr. Sunil De Silva, Managing Director Sanken Lanka, Ranjith Gunetilleke, General Manager Nawaloka Construction Kalana Alwis and Marketing Manager City Developers Prasad Croos at the press briefing. Leading players in the construction industry and property developers urge the public to invest in real estate as now is the exact time to do it. “There is a misconception amongst the public that real estate prices will come down. On the contrary they are going to escalate by over a 100% due to price increases in material, labour, transport, overheads, service connections, as well as the new tax levied by the Government where 5% of the total construction cost has to be paid to the UDA even before construction starts” Managing Director Sanken Lanka, Ranjith Gunatilleke said at a joint press briefing held at the Nawaloka Auditorium on Tuesday. “Real estate has always been a good investment as currency rates keep fluctuating and urged the public to invest their monies in property development. “Real estate has been proven to be one of the best investments in this country for over two decades and land prices are known to escalate no matter what” Gunatilleke said. He said for the past 18 months they had not had a single new Apartment construction project whereas previously they would tender on an average for at least 2 -3 new projects every month. “Recently however some developers have been unable to meet their payments to contractors as they are unable to sell their apartments, while some developers have been forced to stop construction mid way. Buyers are expecting real estate prices to come down, this is not going to happen, they will only escalate,” he said. Gunatilleke stated that the economic situation in the country, the worsening security situation which makes people think twice before investing in apartments both as a second home or city home as well as an investment, the shortage of cement, the absence of skilled labour and the escalating price of raw materials as reasons for this situation. “The enforcement of a 5% tax of the total construction cost which came into effect about one and a half years ago has virtually put a halt on any future construction and this coupled with the escalating price of raw materials has had a negative effect on the construction industry as well as for property developers”. General Manager Nawaloka Construction, Kalana Alwis said today people spend a significant amount of time traveling, wasting both time and fuel. It makes sense to have a second home in Colombo, particularly an apartment which could be locked up when not used. “Not only is there the convenience factor but you also have an investment which appreciates almost daily”, Alwis said. Chairman Benison International Dr Sunil de Silva said his development project, namely 189 Residencies on Baseline Road had seen an appreciation in land value of over 100%. “In 2004 a perch was valued at Rs 1.2 million, whereas now the price is Rs 2.5 million for a perch. Steel which at that time cost US$ 400 per tonne is now US$ 950 a tonne, therefore as an investment there is no way you can lose as land and housing are appreciating rapidly”, de Silva said. Produced by Lake House Copyright © 2006 The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.


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