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Serving Sri Lanka

This web log is a news and views blog. The primary aim is to provide an avenue for the expression and collection of ideas on sustainable, fair, and just, grassroot level development. Some of the topics that the blog will specifically address are: poverty reduction, rural development, educational issues, social empowerment, post-Tsunami relief and reconstruction, livelihood development, environmental conservation and bio-diversity. 

Monday, May 16, 2005

Resorts Unhappy with Post-Tsunami Building Guidelines

adnkronosinternational :13/05/2005"

Arugam Bay, 12 May (AKI) - Five months after the tsunami hit the country, Sri Lanka is determined not to be caught unawares anymore. The government has imposed strict tsunami warning measures, decreeing that no hotel should be built within 200 metres of the coast. For hoteliers, the tsunami damage was immeasurable, but they say the new laws will inflict even more damage on them.

Arugam Bay, east of Sri Lanka, was a tourist paradise before the December 26 tragedy. Now it is a heap of rubble, with the beaches representing a sad souvenir of destruction. The government decree preventing building on the coast is lost on the people there, who continue to regard the sea as their only form of sustenance. "They ask us to build our hotels away from the sea. No foreigner or local will come to a hotel placed in the land region," says A.M.D. Ifam, owner of Rock View, a tsunami-hit inn in the area.

M. S. M. Ismail, another tsunami-hit hotel owner, who lost six members of his family in the tragedy, said he and others were reconstructing their hotels with whatever means possible in the same area.

“Yes, we are rebuilding our businesses in the same location. We have no alternative,” Ismail said, while continuing to clear rubble from the area, along with other devastated hoteliers.

“It is easy for them [the government] to talk. It is we who have to suffer,” he said angrily referring to precautionary measures taken by the government to prevent the construction of new buildings close to the sea.

“It is ridiculous to think that tourists would come to an interior landlocked place for a holiday,” he said. The fears of hoteliers come in the wake of desperate efforts made by the government's tourist board to identify new locations in land areas that will attract tourists.

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