Kids bathing at Lipton Circus roundabout
Ranil seems to be running for Prime Minister again. He recently wrote about a plan for Colombo, which is to follow his plan from 2004. It’s an interesting idea, a Colombo Megapolis which stretches from Negombo to Kalutara. The problem is that the current election is for the Colombo Municipal Council, whose jurisdiction ends in Dehiwela.
What Ranil is proposing is a national plan. It’s not actually a plan for Colombo, unless Negombo and Kalutara are Colombo. I suppose they could be, but the CMC doesn’t have an army and building roads and connecting those areas would have to be done at the national level. For which you’d need to build political support and win national elections.
His plan for Colombo is basically a plan for a plan. There’s no concept of execution.
A UNP controlled Colombo Municipal Council will publish this plan. Copies will also be made available to the other local authorities in the Western Province as well as the Provincial Councils. We will call for consultations with all interested parties on the plans for the city of Colombo. We hope it will trigger similar consultations in all concerned Local Authorities in the western region. We will present an amended Plan based on our consultations. The government would then have to either accept the plan – involving all stakeholders – or come up with a better plan.
The Megapolis idea isn’t bad, but it certainly isn’t good. It doesn’t really address the immediate problems in Colombo but rather talks about broader infrastructure investments that will pay off in 2030. Again, not bad ideas, but how do you execute. The Mayor of Colombo simply can’t and shouldn’t build highways and power plants outside of Colombo. If Ranil wanted to do that, he should have taken the idea to Sri Lankan voters in the last Presidential race (where he didn’t run) or the Parliamentary elections (which he lost).
The UNP seems to be running a national campaign for local government, which is quite literally besides the point. The Mayor of Colombo can improve Colombo, expand the sewer system, build homes for shanty dwellers (which Ranil also calls for), clean up the local administration and – working with the national government – bring about some incrementally awesome change. What they cannot do is make Colombo Negombo, or Kalutara. Colombo is Colombo.