Government defends move to evict shanty dwellers

The protest continued overnight and was temporarily called off this morning but resumed again.Ranawaka however said the Government looked at negotiating a peaceful end to the issue and did not use force. (Colombo Gazette) The former Government had at the time been accused of forcefully evicting shanty dwellers and now the current Government is also facing the same accusation. He said the shanty dwellers were asked to leave by January 31 but they did not leave and those who did had returned and began constructing new shelters on the land in Thotalanga illegally.Shanty dwellers in the Thotalanga area blocked traffic and staged a protest after their homes were demolished on the directions of the Urban Development Authority yesterday. Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said that all except a few shanty dwellers have been given houses and in some special cases two houses so the Thotalanga situation cannot be compared to what took place when the former Government was in power. The Government today defended the move to evict a group of shanty dwellers in the Thotalanga area saying they were given houses at an alternate location but yet they had come back and taken over Government land illegally.Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said that the situation which arose in Thotalanga yesterday and today cannot be compared to what took place when the former Government was in power.

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