(This article was originally published in Daily FT on 8th July 2016)

By Ashwin Hemmathagama – Our Lobby Correspondent

The Government has allocated Rs.300 million to compensate those who are affected by the recent natural disasters. According to Prime Minister, suitable lands are being identified to build new houses in safer locations.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, responding to Joint Opposition MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara, confirmed all financial allocations were given to District Secretaries and the completion of the project will take some time due to land acquisition issues.

“District Secretaries are provided with necessary documentation and guidelines to provide relief and compensations to all those who were affected by the natural disasters. The District Secretaries have submitted requests for necessary funds to carry out the reconstruction and relief. So, Colombo was given Rs.109 million, Gampaha Rs.152 million, Puttalam Rs.9 million, Kegalle Rs.20 million, Ratnapura Rs.4 million, and Kalutara Rs.6 million,” said the Prime Minister.

Explaining the reasons why the progression is slow, the PM said: “The process of identifying suitable lands to build new houses for those who were affected in Kegalle and Ratnapura districts is under way. These people are dwelling in temporary shelters. Most of the lands are private properties. Acquisition takes time. We have started distributing monies in the Kelani valley. Kaduwela and Hanwella will be next. As for Salawa, we have allocated Rs.18 million for compensation and plan to build 276 houses and 52 business places.  We have received the estimates and some are not happy about it. If you have disagreements better move it with the Minister of Disaster Management.”