Slave Island residents told to move or be moved

Residents of an area earmarked for development in Slave Island were today told to either agree to a relocation program that has been offered by the government or be forcefully removed on a court order.

A meeting was held this evening between the residents at the Secretary of Defence and Urban Development Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the Colombo Mayor and other officials at the Sri Lanka Exhibition and Convention Center.

During the meeting some residents refused to agree to four options made available to them in order for them to vacate their homes.

Rajapaksa then told the residents that if they refuse to move, legal action will be initiated against them as most of them are living in illegal constructions.

Some 500 families are to be relocated to make way for a housing project by TATA Housing and 18SG.

The land to India’s Tata Housing Development Company Ltd will be given on a 99 years lease.

The Cabinet had last year approved a proposal to give around eight acres of land around Slave Island bordering Malay Street, Justice Akbar Street and a railway track to Tata Housing and its partner SG 18 Advisors and Consultants (Pvt) Ltd.

The company will have to build alternative flats to 456 householders in the area in the same vicinity before developing the land. Until the houses are built, householders will be paid rent. (Colombo Gazette)