Reports indicate that beggars at Colombo’s Galle Face Green have become a significant problem for visitors to the area. The number of beggars has noticeably risen in the vicinity where local residents, tourists from abroad, young individuals, and families with children gather for leisure and relaxation. It is estimated that approximately 150 beggars at Galle Face Green are causing numerous disturbances to the visitors throughout the week, making it a pressing social concern as highlighted in the reports.
The Galle Face Green belongs to the Sri Lanka Port Authority (SLPA). The institution at present, has made significant investments in its environmental and infrastructure beautification process. The premises has also provided visitors with sanitary and other necessary facilities. However, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Aviation has received complaints regarding the public harassments caused by beggars at the Green.
Accordingly, as a proactive solution to address the issue, it has been decided that these individuals will be relocated at the Social Services Rehabilitation Center in Ridiagama, in the Hambantota District. The Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Aviation has instructed on the implementation of a joint program by both SLPA and the Police Department to oversee this initiative.
Hon. Minister of Ports, Shipping, and Aviation – Nimal Siripala de Silva, has issued directives for the SLPA and affiliated institutions to allocate funds for this, under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. These funds are intended to provide essential accommodation, food, and other necessary facilities for beggars to be transferred at the Ridiagama Centre.
A special discussion on this took place with the initative of the Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva today (26.06.2023) at the Ministry Auditorium. The Secretary to the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Aviation – Mr. K.D.S.Ruwanchandra, Chairman of SLPA – Mr. Keith D. Bernard, a number of higher officials from SLPA, affiliated institutions and the Police Department attended the discussion.
Expressing views at the occasion, the Minister had this to say:
“Persistent harassment inflicted upon the public by these beggars is a stain on Sri Lanka’s reputation, particularly when both local and foreign tourists visit Colombo. Recognizing the responsibility entrusted as the subject Minister, it has been decided to re-settle these beggars at the Social Services Rehabilitation Center in Ridiagama, located in the Hambantota District. The project will be undertaken under the purview of the SLPA. Considering this a CSR initiative, the SLPA and its affiliates have pledged the requisite financial resources for this measure.”