Housing rights for 50,000 low-income families

President Ranil Wickramasinghe said that when his house was destroyed by fire two years ago, he became acutely aware of the value of a house and because of his realization of its value, he implemented a program to give full ownership of those houses to 2,50,000 people living in flats in Colombo.

The first phase of the “Rantora Urumaya” home ownership event was held at the Presidential Secretariat to provide 50,000 homes to families living in flats in Colombo with an income of less than two and a half million. The President said this while addressing the event.

130 houses located in 31 flats in Colombo district were awarded and the President symbolically handed over the house rights to some of them.

According to President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s 2024 budget, the Urumaya scheme will provide free land rights to 20 lakh people and a scheme to give full ownership of those houses to two and a half lakh low-income families living in flats.

Under the first phase, 50,000 beneficiary families who have completed payment of Rs 150,000 for all houses, including flats provided by the National Housing Development Authority to low-income earners at a monthly rent of Rs 3,000 or less, and who have not yet paid the said amount within one month, will be given complete home ownership.

The National Housing Development Authority plans to issue title deeds to 1070 beneficiaries by the end of this year.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe also addressed,

“Through the Urumaya scheme, 20 lakh people will get free land rights and 50,000 people will get full rights to houses. The President said that getting land and home ownership is fulfilling the hope of the people of this country and mentioned that the government is working to provide as much relief as possible to the people.

We have gathered today to ensure that the people who lived in the Colombo flats get full ownership of that house. We started the ‘Urumaya’ program when the people of this country were suffering. We have helped all those people as much as possible by the government.

We focused mainly on empowering people. Land ownership or house ownership is very important. This is the expectation of the people. We implemented this project to fulfill those expectations. The project was completed in two years.

Before doing all these, economic stability should be established in the country. And law and order should be maintained in the country. Two years ago, everyone was apprehensive about the country’s future. Today we have established economic stability in the country. Without this economic stability, our country would have become another Lebanon and Kenya.

We are working to give the people the benefit of the economic stability prevailing in the country today. Within two years, the country was freed from the state of corruption. I have been saying for a long time that the farmers of this country should be given land rights. We all came together to make it happen.

Two years ago when my house was destroyed by fire I realized the value of the house. The crew did not even allow anyone to enter the place. If the Air Force came to put out the fire, they would have had to use guns. I don’t want to shoot arsonists. Everything in that house, including my books, was destroyed in the fire.

At that time, we felt the value of a home very strongly, so we started this project to give people ownership of their own home. So we were able to bring the Urumaya project to the city instead of limiting it to the village. 20 lakh people in villages will get land rights under Urumaya scheme. Two and a half million people will get home ownership in Colombo. You have to bless these houses. And keep it nice and clean. Build your future on it. So, I consider this a valuable opportunity in your life.

We are working as a government to provide maximum relief to the people. We all know the sufferings of the people of this country. When I took charge of this country, I wanted to make a change in the country. That change is not about raising slogans or shouting in the streets. That change was not made by signing the petitions. If you have a goal, you should act on that goal.

No one thought we could bring our country to where it is today. We have provided threefold benefits to the people through Aswesuma scheme like Samurthi Relief. Also, the country’s rice production was increased and arrangements were made to provide 10 kg of rice for 02 months to low-income people. Government employees were given a salary hike of ten thousand rupees.

We have also taken steps to improve the tourism sector of the country. Agriculture improved. Urumaya scheme was implemented and arrangements were made to give free land rights to the people. Also, we have taken steps to provide ownership of houses in flats.

It is only because of our dedication that we have been able to carry out these activities. Why can’t other governments take this initiative? So I have to thank all these ministers. All of us should continue these activities together.

We have reached an agreement with the official lenders who have given us loans, the Exim Bank of China and private lenders on how to repay our foreign debt. Accordingly, our debt has been reduced by Rs.08 billion.

Similarly, the loan repayment has been given till 2042. So we have to take this forward. I don’t think anyone wants to go back to the old. If we do not protect this agreement with the International Monetary Fund, we will face a very difficult situation as a country in the future. Also, we can’t always get credit. So, we have to move to a profitable export economy.

We must accomplish both these goals. Don’t let anyone change it. Your future is in your hands today. Also, employment opportunities should be created for the youth. Also, we have appointed an expert committee to look into the salary discrepancies of government employees.

I have directed the Treasury Secretary to implement a scheme to provide relief to retirees. We need to allocate funds before the end of this year to provide relief to them. The government expects to maintain low interest rates in the future.

Bank interest should be kept low to promote business. But when interest rates fall, it hurts retirees. So I have instructed the Treasury Secretary to prepare a program for that.

We have a long way to go for your children’s future than you do. We need to create a society that is necessary for future generations. I believe we have done the best we can to do that by giving people rights today.” The President further said.

Urban Development and Housing Minister Prasanna Ranatunga,

“When the President presented the budget for 2024 and proposed to give full title deeds to twenty lakh people, some groups in the opposition ignored the proposal. But the President then smiled and instructed us to implement the Urumaya Land Guarantee Scheme.

Today the Urumaya Land Guarantee Scheme has been started. Similarly, a scheme has been launched today to give full ownership of the houses to people living in flats. By obtaining the title deeds of these houses, one can get a bank loan to send a child to school, to get money for a surgery.

Two years ago, on this day, the only home of President Ranil Wickremesinghe was burnt down by protesters. Those protesters did not burn a house, but a history. The house had a valuable library, valuable statues, valuable paintings, etc.

Two years have passed since he lost his home, and the program to confirm your home ownership has begun. Ranil Wickramasinghe was the only leader who came forward for the country and the oppressed people when our leaders left office due to the crisis situation in the country, traders and educated people left the country.

A true leader can be found only in times of crisis. Ranil Wickramasinghe took charge of the country in a critical situation and took steps to stabilize the country and worked to provide relief to the affected people through programs like Aswesuma and Urumaya.” The minister further said.

Minister of State Tenuka Vidhanagamage,

“Two years ago on a day like today, the President’s house was burnt down by protesters. But today the president has started a program to give ownership of those houses to people living in Colombo flats.

As per the recommendation of President Ranil Wickramasinghe, the program of issuing Urumaya Land Certificate and Home Title Deed has been started. By doing so, people living in Colombo flats are getting full housing rights.

During the period of 2015-2019, we took steps to continue the projects implemented by Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister through the Ministry of Housing. As a result, people today have full rights in flats.” He further informed that.

Sagala Ratnayake, Senior Adviser to the President on National Security and Head of the Presidential Task Force;

“President Ranil Wickremesinghe, since 2001, has been single-minded about providing land and housing rights to the people. Ranil Wickremesinghe, on the first occasion of assuming the executive powers of the presidency, took steps to accelerate the issuance of full land title deeds to the people.

Instructions were given to prepare laws and ministerial papers in this regard. Therefore, today we have been able to successfully implement both the land ownership and housing ownership programs.

Meanwhile, ministers, state ministers and government officials are working with dedication. They all deserve thanks. People were greatly affected by the economic crisis in the country two years ago.

In such a situation, President Ranil Wickramasinghe worked to maintain law and order and establish stability in the country. Within two years, the Urumaya program was implemented to stabilize the country’s economy and enfranchise the people.” He further informed that.

State Minister Arunthika Fernando, Urban Development and Housing Ministry Secretary WS Satyananda, National Housing Development Authority Chairman Rajeev Suriyarachchi and many others participated in the event.