The government will implement a programme to provide newly built houses free of charge to all persons who are likely to be deprived of their houses due to the introduction of the 100 metre coastal buffer zone, the Presidential Secretariat said yesterday.
It said,` The government has now taken action to implement programmes to provide with newly built houses free of charge to all persons who will be deprived of the opportunity to construct their own houses on land belonging to them as a result of setting this limit of 100 metres from the coastline. The government which draws the attention of the general public to the massive damage of life and property caused by the recent Tsunami Tidal Waves, earnestly request the people to refrain from any attempts to construct dswelling on land belonging to them coming within this limit of 100 metres of the coastal belt.
`After the massive damage to life and property that was caused by the tsunami tidal waves of 26 December 2005, the government has decided .to make the coastal belt of Southern Sri Lanka within 100 metres from the coastline and coastal belt of Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka within 200 metres from the coastline a region free of permanent human residence and devoted only to the growing of economic crops.
`Relevant government institutions and organizations like the Coast Conservation Department, the Meteorological Department and the Central Environmental Authority and many groups of citizens possessing `wide knowledge about the subject including University Professors have agreed to the decision taken by the government. Although in the Coast Conservation Management plans and other documents prepared earlier, varied limits have been prescribed for different stretches of the coastal belt taking into consideration factors such as altitude of the land, and also geographical and climatic factors, the scientific personnel referred to above have expressed the view that setting a distance limit for activity in the coastal belt is essential in view of the geographical changes that have now taken place in the coastline.`