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Sri Lanka urban agency in talks with India's Tata on US$50mn project
08 Mar, 2012 17:55:26
Mar 08, 2012 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s Urban Development Authority is in talks with India's TATA Housing Development Company, to develop an underserved area in Colombo an official said.
The project involves relocating shanty dwellers in Colombo's Slave Island area to new housing and developing the vacated area.

"We are going to sign a preliminary MOU (memorandum of understanding) with them", Urban Development Authority Chairman, Nimal Perera, said.

"The negotiation part is mostly over and now we have to convince the shanty dwellers."

UDA says TATA has offered five billion rupees to build better housing units with recreational facilities for some 587 slum families in Slave Island.

The UDA will not invest in the project but will only be facilitators.

"We have to do the acquisition part, infrastructure leading to the site and convincing dwellers on what types houses they are going to get," Perera said.

In return TATA is looking at doing some mixed development on the remaining land.

UDA said TATA has not revealed plans of what they plan to do but they are likely to build middle class houses or another housing complex.

"TATA is going to do some commercial development by utilizing these lands and make some money for what they have already spent for the relocation of shanty dwellers," Perera said.

"That is the agreement.

"Shanty dwellers neither have to pay the UDA nor the Investor. This is a novel investment system."

Each housing unit built for the shanty dwellers at a cost of Rs 10 mn will have two bed rooms, pantry, toilet, and an open area.

The Urban Development Authority says slum dwellers are living in appalling conditions without proper ventilation and basic infrastructure.

"They can’t even open their windows because it touches the next door wall and ventilation is a problem," Perera said.

"What TATA is going to do is to give them a nice looking place to live comfortably

"Their whole lifestyle is going to change after moving into this housing unit."

The UDA says there are over 68,000 slums in Colombo mostly scattered across lands of commercial value.

The government is on a drive to develop commercial property and beautify Colombo and has already begun moving security forces establishments and government departments away from Colombo.

The Urban Development Authority is aiming to build 70,000 houses to relocate slum dwellers within the next 5 years.

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2. PRK Mar 12
The best is to try this with a local firm. It seems Tata is getting more than what they are spending here, so might as well give it to a local firm and see. These lands are very high in value. One shanty space land will be more than 20-30m when free from shanty so Tata will get net around 10-20m from land alone after giving 10m for the flat. Good action but wrong way of doing this. Pls do little more costing with a local firm and see.
1. Shakeel Mar 09
This sounds interesting but convincing the mindset of the shanty dwellers going to be task. I am sure if you reason with them it would make them realise. Further, this partnership should be forged with local conglomerates as well.