(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – Urban Development and Housing Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said that 782 acres of land belonging to the Urban Development Authority have been identified as cultivable lands under the government’s program to cultivate urban lands.
The Minister has instructed the relevant authorities to commence cultivation of these lands immediately.
According to the Minister, these lands are located in all the districts of the island. They range in size from 01 to 400 acres of land. The Minister further instructed the authorities to identify the crops endemic to each area and cultivate them in these lands.
The Minister gave these instructions during a discussion held Tuesday on the future activities of the Urban Development Authority.
The Minister pointed out that it was imperative to commence cultivation on unutilized urban lands as soon as possible to alleviate the possible food crisis in the future and hoped that this would provide relief to the people.
The Minister instructed the Urban Development Authority to suspend large scale projects that have not been started so far and to implement only projects that are currently operational.
He also said that arrangements should be made to expedite the payment of arrears due to the Urban Development Authority for properties that have been sold so far.
The Urban Development Authority should also prepare a sales plan for the expeditious sale of completed houses. The Minister also instructed that action be taken to determine the value of existing properties relative to the market price for future property sales.
Minister Ranatunga said it was important that the majority of the projects being launched in the country at the moment were targeted at resolving the food crisis in the future, adding that he was pleased that the Urban Development Authority (UDA), a construction giant in the country, had taken the first steps in this direction.
The Minister further stated that although these projects outside of his subject area are not easy to implement achieving those goals is now imperative for the future of the country.
The Secretary to the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing, Dr. Pradeep Ratnayake, Additional Secretary Dr. MMSSB Yalegama, Chairman of the Urban Development Authority retired Major General Udaya Nanayakkara, Director General of the Urban Development Authority Prasad Ranaweera and many other officials were also present.