Thursday, May 26, 2016

A practical proposal to relocation of families under threat of landslides

The topic is timely, and needs to be debated and settled, in a manner where we recognize reality, rather than history and allow people choices, making sure that they are given reasonable information that is as accurate as possible to make informed choices with regards to their futures.

So let us say that there are 10,000 families in a close area that have to be re-housed. The Government is talking about giving 10,000 plots of land of between 15 and 20 perches with which to build homes in some areas. I believe that is the worst possible solution.

We must first assess the needs of these families, and determine if they should be housed close to Aranayake or elsewhere. Each case has to be evaluated on their own merits. NO common decision should be made. This is the only time to make this decision, as people are displaced and cannot be returned to their previous places of abode and have to go live in what they should consider the best of all possible alternatives.

Remember that in Sri Lanka, unlike in the USA, people do not move from an area they know to a new area, even though in marriage they move so far, that they never see their relatives ever again. That is the unfathomable basis of people and their love affair with their home. Once home is built you can never move the person from there! We are like glued to that place, and in this situation when people are unglued, they must be given choices.

In many places employment is scarce, it is crazy to offer land in places where this is so, and instead, they must be given a choice to live in an area where employment is plentiful. There are areas where there are job vacancies with no one to do them, as people don’t want to move for the job from homes they live in. It is too costly for them to live in rented accommodation on the salaries they are offered.

So give choices to people to live in condominiums in urban areas where employment is plentiful. Make it sweeter by offering them more than the quality offered in land nearby, that may not provide the breadwinner with a job. It is simple commonsense, and downright stupidity for a Country to resettle people in land with NO access to employment.

In this way displaced people will be offered a chance to better themselves economically and shown the possibilities of urban living. This then has a chance of people, families living in close proximity to employment, rather than the breadwinner, having to be boarded, whilst the family live in a rural area.

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