Drugs a low-income housing scheme syndrome

Published : 9:09 am  September 3, 2015 | No comments so far |  |  (1330) reads | 

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By Rumana Razick
In response to the article published in the  Metro on July 30, 2015 regarding drug issues in housing schemes, (Sirisara Uyana and Methsara Uyana in particular) the Urban Development Authority (UDA) is to strengthen the police units at these housing schemes and also enforce police action.

Speaking to the  Metro the UDA maintenance officer at Sirisara Uyana said that there has been a decrease in the sale of drugs and illicit activities in the evenings. “The existing police unit was not effective because although individuals were searched and arrested, they were released after 14 days.

However, now that routine inspections by the police have commenced the number of cases have decreased. The police need to remain vigilant and continue with their routine inspections and arrests. If the inspections carried out by them stops even for a short spell the problem will resurface,” the officer said.

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Despite a decrease the drug issue persists with sellers having  found alternate locations outside the housing schemes to ply their  illegal trade


During the  visit to these housing schemes in July this year it was found that amidst the betel-spit splattered walls and uncollected garbage there were  a number of residents who sold illegal drugs for a living. A recent visit by the  Metro showed that despite a decrease the issue persisted with sellers having found alternate locations outside the housing schemes to ply their illegal trade.

Meanwhile UDA Project Director of the Urban Regeneration Programme, Brigadier Samarasinghe said they can only carry out awareness programmes about the dangers of drug use to combat the issue.

“We do not have the authority to make arrests or take legal action against suspects. It needs to be done by the police. We have a police unit at each of the housing schemes in Vanathamulla and Dematagoda, but they are not effective. We relocate people and cannot be held responsible for internal matters concerning flat dwellers.,” he said.


Police strength inadequate so are legal provisions


He also said, “We have informed the police of drug-related issues a number of times, but the action they took was not effective. Also our requests to have a police unit at all housing schemes was denied. We are carrying out awareness programmes together with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to mitigate the issue.”