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Sri Lanka successfully overcoming urbanization challenge - Weerawansa

A UN report on world urbanization and urban habitats states Sri Lanka is a country with a low urbanization level, said Construction, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities Minister Wimal Weerawansa.

Participating in the opening ceremony of the construction of the Awissawella Penriwatte War Heroes’ Village, Minister Weerawansa said Sri Lanka has obtained second place among the list of countries with less urbanization levels.

The minister said the United Nations always issues various reports on Sri Lanka.

‘These reports on some occasions praise us and sometimes criticize us. But they have to accept the truth and the UN has named Sri Lanka as a country with less urbanization.

“People may think that this report is not good for us. No one should be worried about this report as high urbanization level never brings positive results to a country. It creates lots of problems, such as, the rise of underworld activities, slums, creates a corrupt society, etc.

‘High urbanization is not a solution for Sri Lanka’s problems. None of the countries in the world with high urbanization levels has found solutions to problems relating to urbanization,” the minister said.

“So, for Sri Lanka to be named as a country with a low urbanization level,is a matter of great pride for us, ”Minister Weerawansa said. He said Sri Lanka is a middle income country. Therefore, urbanization should be a problem.

But, the report clearly states that only one in five people live in urban areas.

‘This trend is different in other countries,where most people prefer to move to urban areas as they believe that they can live with all the facilities. The situation in Sri Lanka is different as most people living in Colombo now prefer to go back to their villages, as they cannot cope with the negative effects of urbanization.

“The report also reveals that Sri Lanka has the lowest urbanization rate among Asian countries which is on a gradual decline. The rate of urbanization in 1990 was 18.6 percent, 15.8 percent in 2000 and 14.3 percent in 2010.

‘Population density in cities has reduced as a result,” the minister said. Minister Weerawansa further said under the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, urban and rural areas have develop rapidly. If people receive infrastructure facilities, such as, roads, electricity etc, they will not want to move into cities.

“The truth behind this report is that no one can stop urbanization, if development activities are only limited to cities, resulting in the creation of urban habitats.

‘Sri Lanka has successfully overcome this challenge.” he said.

 

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