40th Anniversary of National Housing Programme and community participatory housing development



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by Luckvijaya Sagara  Palansuriya


What the Government institutions responsible for development constantly do is achieving their targeted development programmes with the contribution of the funds allocated to those institutions by the Government. Is can most often be achieving or coming close to the targets expected by the Government or the non-achievement of targets.


Even so, achieving a target expected by the government of fulfilling the development requirements of the people through people’s participation is not an easy task. Especially achieving the development expectations of impoverished or lesser-income people with their participation and conforming to the expectations of the Government is a true challenge. It is the successful operation of a community participatory development process. The National Housing Development Authority is a State Institution that carried out this process, fulfilling people’s expectations and the development targets of the Government. The National Housing Development Authority, established in the year 1979, completes 40 years of its community participatory development process.


This is truly an occasion that should be commemorated. Accordingly, the 40th anniversary commemoration of the National Housing Development Authority established in 1979 April is operating even at present as an island-wide development programme and the felicitation of all officials and other activists that contributed to that development process was held on ‘National Housing Day’ that fell on 23rd June at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall, Colombo.


The specialty of this commemorative ceremony that differed from conventional commemorative ceremonies is that President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe participating in the 40th anniversary celebrations on the invitation of Hon. Sajith Premadasa, Minister of Housing, Construction and Cultural Affairs. Staff members as well as senior officials of the National Housing Development Authority that contributed to the Hundred Thousand Housing Programme, the One Million Housing Programme, the Development Process of Providing Housing Facilities for 1.5 Million of families, and, after that, the ‘Jana Udawa’ and ‘Jana Sewana’ Programmes and actively contributing at present to the ‘Semata Sevana’ (Shelter for All) National Housing Programme operational at present through the National Housing Programme participated in this ceremony. The special feature visible at this ceremony was that all of them were felicitated. All Chairmen, General Managers and staff members who carried out their mission of service from the establishment of the Institution to date were felicitated at the 40th Anniversary Ceremony of the National Housing Development Authority.


A special sight at this Ceremony was the felicitation of the people that contributed to the strengthening of this institutional process in the days of yore and staff members presently giving their unstinted contribution to the success of the ‘Semata Sevana’ (Shelter for All) National Housing Programme operated at present by the National Housing Development Authority. Other than those, the District staff that is most successfully operating the ‘Semata Sevana’ Model Village Development Programme and the District staff that is properly managing the funds invested for housing development were subjected to special felicitations at this ceremony.


Speaking at this ceremony, the Hon. Minister of Housing, Construction and Cultural Affairs Sajith Premadasa stated that being able to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the National Housing Development Authority on a special date such as the 23rd of June, the date proclaimed as the National Housing Day by the Government under which the anniversary process of the ‘Uda Gam’ Programme was carried out is a matter for great pleasure. Hon. Minister Sajith Premadasa further stated that the staff of the National Housing Development Authority is giving a special contribution for the success of the ‘Semata Sevana’ (Shelter for All) National Housing Programme in the same way they gave their contribution for the success of the Uda Gam Programme in the days of yore and, felicitating their services, stated that arrangements have been made to confirm and provide other facilities to staff performing these services.


Speaking further, Hon. Minister Sajith Premadasa stated that, even though the foremost objective of the ‘Semata Sevana’ (Shelter for All) National Housing Programme was launching the construction work of 2500 New Model Villages by the end of the year 2019, the National Housing Development Authority, working with great efficiency, managed to reach that objective a few months before the target date.


He further stated that, under the first stage of constructing 20,000 New Model Villages providing ‘Shelter for All’ (Semata Sevana), the construction work of 2500 New Model Villages have already been launched and it is expected to construct 5000 New Model Villages under its second stage, 10,000 New Model Villages under its third stage and 2500 new Model Villages through its fourth stage.


Airing his views at this ceremony, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe stated, "The Government that came to power in 1977 had two expectations parallel to uplifting the country’s economy. One of those expectations is providing a roof sheltering every citizen. Other expectation is giving a proper education to the children of the nation. The National Housing Development Authority that joined the development process of this country with the creation of the ‘Gam Udawa’ Programme in the year 1977 have launches a special task in the period from that day to date. In the beginning, they activated the Hundred Housing Programme. Then they contributed fully to the One Million Housing Programme and it was extended as the 1.5 Million Housing Programme. Because of the success of this programme, various Government institutions, private sector organizations and schools such as Royal College, Colombo, joined this housing development programme. The Government of the time launched Free Trade Zones to strengthen the country’s economy parallel to housing development."


"After the present Government came to power in the year 2015, we entrusted the Ministry of Housing to Minister Sajith Premadasa. Following his father’s footsteps, today he is operating the housing development programme most successfully. Other that completely spending the total financial allocation to the Ministry, they constantly ask for further financial allocations from the Government and endeavour to make the housing development programme successful. Operating a targeted development programme successfully with the people’s participation is not an easy task. But, today, the National Housing Development Authority has proved it can be done through their actions," he further stated.


President Maithripala Sirisena, addressing the ceremonial gathering, stated, "The development revolution and the transformation of housing development in our country occurred after the establishment of the National Housing Development Authority. We have to accept that a most excellent service was given to impoverished and lesser-income people during the period of administration of Ranasinghe Premadasa. At that time, Premadasa properly understood our country’s problems. He launched the programme of constructing houses for impoverished and lesser-income people through that understanding. The ‘Uda Gam’ Programme created a renaissance, a revolution and a transformation in the housing sphere of this country."


"Felicitating the staff that served the National Housing Development Authority from the day of its establishment to date at this point of time when it is commemorating its 40th anniversary is very important. We specially felicitate the 40-year mission of the National Housing Development Authority as the mission of an institution that has dedicated its services to impoverished and lesser-income people. Commemorating long service of 40 years in such an institution should be specially valued. Just because of that, I am wishing this institution well and give my blessings to it. I wish that the housing development programme of Hon. Sajith Premadasa will be more and more successful through this," stated His Excellency the President.


The Four-Decade Commemoration Ceremony of National Housing was launched with the song "Oba mata wishwasai – Mata oba wishwasai" (I have trust in you – You have trust in me.) That was the launching song of the Gam Udawa Programme of yore. That song expressed that the people who contributed to the Gam Udawa Programme and the participating staff truly mutually trusted each other. This four-decade process of housing development was built on trust between people, the Government and officials. This mutual trust has become instrumental in the success of this development process not only in the days of its inception but also in the present. People felicitated in this Four-Decade Commemoration Ceremony of National Housing were beneficiaries, officials and other contributing parties who contributed for this mutual trust.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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