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Sri Lankan PM Says Political Restructure Needed For Planned ‘Western Megapolis’ To Work

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Sri Lankan Commercial Capital of Colombo

Sri Lanka is going ahead with its planned mega-city that will see the creation of the ambitious Western Region Megapolis, composed of the capital Colombo and Sri Jayewardenepura and to be lumped with two economic regions, by 2030. However, the South Asian nation has acknowledged that for the plan to actually work there needs to be a thorough review of the current political structure.

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has admitted that the current system will prove inadequate in governing an agglomeration of cities that is envisioned to function as an economic hub in the mould of Dubai and Singapore.

The concept of mega-city is unsuitable to the prevailing norm of governance wherein “political power … were distributed between the Central Government, the Provinces and the Local Authorities.” The latter, according to Wickremesinghe, is lacking the muscle, politically and financially, to exercise effective control over a sprawling area such as the dreamed Sri Lankan Megapolis.

“It is inevitable then that we must reconsider the structure of our local governments … We need to politically and financially revitalize and empower local governments,” the Prime Minister said in a speech at the World Cities Summit held in Singapore this week, and per the report published by Economy Next.

Grand Ambition Of Interconnected Metropolis

Sri Lanka views the Megapolis as representative of its strong push to modernise the country’s network of infrastructures. The entire blueprint will see the development of key port areas and the construction of a new financial centre that is readily accessible from Colombo.

The national government will also build a new system of elevated motorways and railways with plans to redevelop the existing waterway networks. The aim, the Sri Lankan leader said, is to achieve “maximum liveability by implementing sewerage and solid waste projects.”

For further support of the mega-city, three LNG plants will rise so as to sustain the existence of a Logistics City, a Forest City, and an Aero City, Wickremesinghe disclosed.

When the Western Megapolis, which the prime minister said will be realised with major contributions coming from Singapore, becomes operational, as many as nine million Sri Lankan nationals and residents will benefit from the ensuing economic boom that is projected to come out of the plan.

Sri Lankan Economy Will Explode

Wickremesinghe is confident that the Western Megapolis will be the catalyst for the Sri Lankan economy to further expand. With the mega-city in place and amply supported by giant infrastructure projects, Sri Lanka will have the key for “transnational connectivity that enables global economic integration,” he added.

The prime minister is betting big on the plan and understandably so as the Megapolis was his brainchild that traces its origin way back in the early 1990s. Wickremesinghe plotted the path for Sri Lanka’s industrialisation and modernisation, and he knew then that the way forward is to build large and thriving metropolis.

“They have reaped the benefits of economies of agglomeration. When firms and workers cluster together there is improved productivity and job creation.  Mega-cities have gone one step further: they have become highly productive centres which connect workers and businesses with global markets,” said the Prime Minister.