President Unveils “Randora Urumaya” Program to Grant Housing Rights to 50,000 Low-Income Families

Ownership of 130 homes across 31 Apartment Complexesin Colombo District Granted.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, reflecting on the destruction of his home by fire two years ago, emphasized the importance of having a secure home. This realization prompted him to launch a program aimed at granting full ownership of homes to 250,000 residents living in flats in Colombo.

He highlighted this initiative yesterday (09) during the inauguration of the “Randora Urumaya” housing deed awarding program. In the first phase, 50,000 houses are being provided to low-income families residing in Colombo flats.

During the event, the President symbolically participated in awarding ownership of 130 houses located in 31 apartment complexes in the Colombo district.

As per a concept of President Ranil Wickremesinghe, the 2024 budget proposals introduced the Urumaya program, which aims to provide free land rights to 2 million people and grant full ownership of homes to 250,000 low-income families living in flats in Colombo.

The National Housing Development Authority has paid Rs.150,000 for each of the homes, including flats, that are rented out to low-income earners at Rs.3,000 or less per month. Although the payment has not yet been completed, within a month, 50,000 beneficiary families will receive full home ownership under the first phase. The Authority plans to award title deeds to 1,070 beneficiaries by the end of this year.

President Wickremesinghe further elaborated that through the “Urumaya” program, 2 million people will receive freehold land rights, and 50,000 people will gain full rights to their homes. He emphasized that owning land and a home fulfils the aspirations of the people of this country, and the government is committed to providing as much relief as possible to its citizens.

Addressing the gathering President Ranil Wickremesinge further stated;

Today, we stand united for the people living in Colombo flats to gain full ownership of their homes. This marks the arrival of the “Urumaya” program in the city. We initiated the “Urumaya” program during a time of great hardship for our country, providing as much support as the government could offer.

Our primary focus was on granting rights to the people. Owning land or a house is crucial and represents the hopes of the people. We implemented this program to fulfil those aspirations, successfully achieving it within two years.

Before achieving all this, it was essential to establish economic stability and maintain law and order in the country. Two years ago, there was widespread fear about the future of our country. Today, we have achieved economic stability. Without this, our country could have faced crises similar to Lebanon and Kenya.

We are now working to ensure that the people benefit from this newfound economic stability. In just two years, we managed to lift the country out of bankruptcy. I have long advocated for granting land rights to the farmers of this country, and we, as a government, united to make this a reality.

I truly understood the value of a house when my home burned down two years ago. If the Air Force had come to put out the fire, they would have had to shoot, and I didn’t want anyone to be harmed. As a result, everything in my house, including my books, was destroyed.

This experience deepened my appreciation for the importance of having a home, which inspired us to launch this project to grant people the right to own their houses. We extended the “Urumaya” program to the city, ensuring it wasn’t confined to rural areas. Under this program, 2 million people in villages will receive freehold land rights; while 250,000 families in Colombo will gain home ownership. You must protect and maintain these homes, keeping them nice and clean, and build your future within them. This is a valuable opportunity in your life, and I urge you to make the most of it.

As a government, we are committed to providing as much relief as possible to the people. We are all acutely aware of the hardships faced by our citizens. When I assumed leadership, I believed the country needed a significant change. This change cannot be achieved through slogans, street protests, or petitions. Real change requires purposeful action towards clear goals.

No one expected our country to reach the state it is in today. Through the “Aswesuma” program, similar to the “Samurdhi” grant, we provided triple the benefits to the people. We also increased the paddy production of the country and arranged for low-income families to receive 10 kilos of rice for two months. Additionally, government employees received a salary increase of ten thousand rupees.

We have also focused on developing tourism and agriculture in the country. The “Urumaya” program was implemented to grant freehold land rights to the people, and arrangements have been made to provide ownership of flats to those in need.
Our achievements were possible due to our dedication. Why were previous governments unable to accomplish these tasks? I must extend my gratitude to all the ministers involved. We must continue these efforts together.

We have reached an agreement with our official creditors, including China Exim Bank and private creditors, on how to repay the foreign loans we have taken. As a result, Rs.8 billion has been reduced from our debt obligations, and we have been given until 2042 to repay the remaining debt. We must move forward with this plan. I believe no one wants to revert to the old ways. If we fail to uphold our agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), we will face even greater difficulties as a nation. We cannot remain perpetually in debt; therefore, we must transition to an export economy to generate income.

We must accomplish these two goals and ensure no one derails our efforts. Your future is in your hands today.

Additionally, we need to create employment opportunities for the youth. An expert committee has been appointed to address salary discrepancies among government employees.

I have also instructed the Treasury Secretary to implement a program to provide relief to retirees. Funds should be allocated by the end of this year to support these individuals. The government aims to maintain low interest rates in the future. For business development, bank interest rates need to be kept low. However, lower interest rates can disadvantage pensioners, so I have directed the Treasury Secretary to develop a program to address this issue.

We have a long journey ahead to secure a better future for your children. We must build the society that future generation’s desire. I believe that granting rights to the people today is one of the best steps we can take towards that goal.