Politicians have either broken rules or permitted changes over the past 70 years that have irretrievably harmed the Environment in Sri Lanka. It is therefore their responsibility now to reverse some of this damage, and I will concentrate here on the use of land in Rural Areas.
NO POLITICIAN realizes that many of the homes in rural areas are hardly occupied, and there is very little chance due to the state not having given TITLE, for the owners of the licenses to live there, to be able to sell freely. The level of under occupancy is staggering in Sri Lanka, where there is NO CENSUS OF THIS YET. I personally know a large number of "mahagederas", that are crumbling for want of people to live there, as they have all left to cities and overseas, many permanent migrants. As is normal the politicians have their heads buried in the sand, and if they BAN encroachment on state land or give state land, it will increase the value of the remaining homes, making it more attractive to sell, and moving to places with jobs.
SO WHAT IS HAPPENEING NOW? THE GOVT. IS IN THE PROCESS OF GIVING MORE LAND IN EACH OF 14,000 GRAMA NILADARI DIVISIONS, approximately 5 homes each, for a total of 70,000 blocks of land to the homeless to build their homes. Now I am told that all those on Landslide areas will also be given 40 perches to build their homes.
This love affair with the land has to be stopped, as we need a mobile population, NOT AN IMMOBILE one, as the most important and urgent policy, if we are to move people to where the jobs are. There are 250,000 job vacancies with NO ONE to do them. It is because many of the jobs are in places different to where people live.
So why is the Govt. continuing to give land for homes, in places where there is NO WORK? It is the most foolish policy that our foolish lawmakers who have never worked a day in their lives, continue to make for POLITICAL expedience.
I have mentioned earlier, that this is the most opportune moment, where people have to be rehoused due to flooding, that we build multifamily homes in cities where there is employment and give people the option of buying there.
The CATCH 22 at the moment is, those in rural areas, cannot sell their homes, so they can raise some cash to buy a property near a city where they can find work. They leave their homes in rural areas, and move to the city and live MISERABLY sometimes rented, sometimes in slum conditions due to this foolish policy, and often the husband lives in a boarding house without family.
So I would recommend to the Govt. that they first buy those homes already built OF THOSE WHO WISH TO SELL, for a reasonable price, so the money can be used to buy a home in a suburb. These homes if need be can be sold on a long-term lease to the people who are landless, and provide a seamless transition.