|Hon. Sajith Premadasa
Minister of Housing and Construction
Social Chanel –
The inspiration cropped up in the housing development field in the year 2015 under the new Government geared the Ministry to move forward in leaps and bounds. The contribution, dedication and the tireless effort put by the staff of all categories of the Ministry , all manner of institutions come under the purview of the Ministry as well as the Secretary of the Ministry were a success to bring our endeavors into fruition in the previous year whilst making a direct impact on our progress.
At the time when we assumed duties in this Ministry, no census had been conducted for ages to recognize how severely the people of this country standing up to acute and complex housing problems. Therefore, we were able to initiate a formal housing census in all districts from June 2016 through grass root level officers including Government Agents and Divisional Secretaries. With this census, we were in a position to become aware of many serious housing problems exceeding the actual which were known to us before. As an example, 85,000 out of 118,000 existing housing stock in the Polonnaruwa District that is, people living in about 70% of the total number of houses could be identified to have housing problems. For the time being, we could have proceeded with this census totally in all divisional secretariat divisions island wide. It was revealed that families not less than 2,563,649 in the said divisions had faced housing issues. Accordingly, it can be assumed that families not less than 50% of 6,094,982 total number of families living in the island have different problems.
We had the opportunity to commence work in 38 villages investing Rs.237.5 Million regenerating the “Reawakening” Programme in 2015. We were capable of commencing work in more than 148 new reawakening villages. In addition, “Reawakening Villages”, “Scattered Housing Loan”, “Donations for Plastering”, “Welioya Special Housing Project” and “Housing Aids of Rs.500,000 granted for families with kidney disease with non-recovery basis” programmes were the 6 prominent amongst the others and families not less than 106,000 were benefited under them.
We made progress uprooting the corruption and the waste of resources which had embraced the institutions under our Ministry in 2015 and 2016. The victory was we could master to save a large amount of money out of it. The assets and resources of each institution have been able to be utilized in fullest extent possible and more effectively for the construction activities burying the corruption and the waste. We would be able to make institutions such as State Engineering Corporation, Building Materials Corporation as profitable institutions with a possible speed realizing our efforts. National Equipment and Machinery Organization secured a remarkable progress in 2016.
His Excellency the President has declared the year 2017 as the Year of Eradication of Poverty. Approval was received to the joint cabinet paper submitted by both His Excellency and I for implementing a Housing Aid Programme for low income families with non-recovery basis merging the housing development with this timely theme. Thereby, our target is to construct 500 reawakening villages and vest them in the public.
Housing Programme of Constructing 500,000 houses for Middle Income Community is already being implemented as a public private partnership project following a concept of Hon. Prime Minister. Subsequently, Housing projects of Wadduwa, Panagoda, Ragama and Homagama are being carried through for the present.
We have now reached a glorifying era of housing development. We are entering into a Sustainable Housing Development Programme satisfying challenging and practical targets in rural and urban housing with the blessing and guidance of His Excellency the President and Hon.Prime Minister after breaking a silence of two decades. The laudable task and the vote of confidence given by Hon. Indika Bandaranayake towards this challenging way forward is immense.
It is our unique wish to achieve the “Shelter for All by 2025