Why Rajapakse of Lanka wants to throw out 70,000 Colombo families
Using the well-worn routes of citing the home owners’ lack of land titles, and changes in urban planning regulations which are exclusionist, the residents of shanty-towns such as Wanathamulla and Maligawatta in central Colombo are on the point of being forced out of their homes by a government bent on crude accumulation by forced dispossession.
Over 70,000 families – more than 50% of central Colombo’s population – are to be removed and their homes demolished by the Sri Lankan government.
The mass evictions are part of plans by President Mahinda Rajapakse to free-up nearly 390 hectares of inner city land and transform the country’s capital into what his government calls “a South Asian financial hub” (the city of Mumbai, on India’s west coast, is doing just that already).
Via the World Socialist Web Site, which has been following the struggles of the residents, this photo essay provides a glimpse into the harsh living conditions of shanty-dwellers in central Colombo, Sri Lanka.
The pictures were taken by Sri Lankan photojournalist Shantan Kumarasamy.
The government has placed the Urban Development Authority and the Land Reclamation and Development Board — two civilian bodies — under the authority of the defence ministry, which has already deployed soldiers and police to forcibly carry out evictions.
A number of shanty dwellers, with the assistance of the Sri Lankan Socialist Equality Party, have formed an Action Committee to Defend the Right to Housing (ACDRH) and issued an appeal to all workers and youth to support their struggle to protect their homes.
Written by makanaka
December 28, 2010 at 17:28