In Sri Lanka, bulldozers have begun flattening the capital's old buildings and shanties to make way for a brand new Colombo.
GV & SV old buildings in Colombo, Sri Lanka (TWO SHOTS)
GV signboard at new market complex, with workers on site (THREE SHOTS)
SV PAN UP bamboo scaffolding surrounding high-rise blocks (THREE SHOTS)
SV & LV men working at newly cleaned-up Beira Lake (TWO SHOTS)
LV children looking from island on lake top high rise buildings by lakeside
GV high rise block nearing completion
LV PAN already-cleaned building flanked by those still to be given a facelift
LV & CU floral displays on roundabouts with signs naming sponsors (THREE SHOTS)
LV sponsored sculptures on roundabouts (TWO SHOTS)
SV PAN elephant-head fountain on roundabout
GV & CU statue of Buddha in the Vihara Mahadevi Park (TWO SHOTS)
CU PAN from loudspeaker on tree TO children playing in park
GV PAN FROM waterfront to Buddhist temple being erected on concrete arches
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: In Sri Lanka, bulldozers have begun flattening the capital's old buildings and shanties to make way for a brand new Colombo. The government has decided to make a clean sweep of the city's eyesores and rebuild the capital. What little will be left of the original city will be contained within a "super-city" -- ten times the size of the existing one. It took a team of experts from the United Nations Development Programme four years to prepare the sixteen-billion rupee (one billion US dollars) urban development plan.
SYNOPSIS: The massive facelift for Colombo is one of three priorities announced by President Junius Jayewardene's new government, which came to power in July, 1977. The old city, which still has many beautiful colonial buildings -- a legacy from the British and the Portuguese -- will be transformed into the most modern capital in Asia. What was once a vast marshland near Maradana is rapidly being transformed into a complex of high-rise flats for those Sri Lankans displace by the demolition of the city's shanty-town.
A once-polluted lake -- the Beira Lake -- in the heart of the city, has been dredged and cleaned up. The island in the middle of the lake has been transformed into a children's amusement park.
Foreign investors, engineering firms and property developers were all invited to cooperate in the gigantic project and the response to the Sri Lanka government's request was overwhelming. It is not just a case of demolition and rebuilding. Structure worth preserving have to have centuries of dirt and grime removed. One of the government's most radical, and successful ideas, was convincing private firms to sponsor individual projects.
The sculptures, too, have been erected by companies operating on the island state, as their contribution to the face-lift -- and sometimes as advertisements.
Besides the mammoth rebuilding project, the Sri Lanka government's other two priority projects are the World Bank-aided Mahaveli River Basin Project and the setting up of a free trade zone north of the capital. Important they no doubt, are but neither will have the stunning visual impact of Asia's newest capital.