They too have the right to live in a house

Published : 8:55 am  May 23, 2017 | No comments so far |  |  (442) reads | 

 DM_20170523_A006-3

 

By Kusal Chamath and Indika Manoj   
Shanty dwellers along the coastal belt from Ratmalana to Moratuwa are facing hardship due to the rough seas and the fast winds experienced at present. They pointed out that sea erosion had worsened and hundreds of houses left to the mercy of the waves. They said they were living in constant feat of any possible danger from heavy rain and fast winds experienced at present.  
A shanty dweller in Moratuwa, Piyasiri Fernando (56) said they were living in utter misery for want of housing, but successive governments for the last 50 years had not paid any attention to them.  


“Every government since independence has boasted about its plans to resolve the housing problem, but the people living in shanties by the railway line have not yet received any relief. Social elite and billionaire businessmen are the owners of sky scraper flats and luxury housing schemes built by the government. Thousands of families living in shanties by the railway line have been in a predicament for want of housing. We do not have any document to prove our residence in case we apply to get our children admitted to a popular school. People living in these shanties are considered second class citizens. We earn a pittance from fishery or other odd jobs and live a hand to mouth life. When the monsoon rain sets in our shanties are exposed to fast winds endangering our life,” he said.  

DM_20170523_A006-2


Another shanty dweller in Ratmalana Chaminda Ruberu (35), a fisherman by profession, said their profession demanded them to live by the beach, but they had a right to live in a house and not a shanty.  


“ Our parents lived in shanties, we live in shanties and our children are also destined to live in shanties. The government that builds housing schemes for the well to do people has ignored our suffering. So are the foreign and local NGOs that implement projects at a colossal expenditure,” he further said.  


Shanty dwellers requested Mega Polis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka to focus attention on the people living in shanties along the coastal railway line and implement a housing scheme for them.