Slave Island Colonial Heritage Building being razed by UDA

Slave Island Colonial Heritage Building being razed by UDA

Written by Zulfick Farzan

23 Aug, 2021 | 7:13 am

COLOMBO (News 1st); Another iconic landmark in Colombo is being demolished, despite the Archaeology Dept raising the red flag.

The ‘De Soyza’ building in Slave Island, a true treasure in the Old part of Colombo, is Generally considered to be over 150 years old.

Director General of the Department of Archaeology Prof. Anura Manatunga said that the building was being demolished by the Urban Development Authority despite opposition of the Department of Archeology.

The tenants of the De Soyza Building, have begun moving their families and businesses after the Urban Development Authority (UDA) began demolishing the building.

The demolishing of the building was fast-tracked after a part of the building collapsed due to deterioration in June.

Now, a handful of families and businesses that were based at the De Soyza Building for generations are forced to move, after the UDA expedited the process to demolish the building in order to offer the land to the Indian-owned Tata Housing Development Company.

Director General of the Department of Archaeology Prof. Anura Manatunga said that “The Department objected to the demolition of this historic building” .

He added however that no legal action can be taken against the UDA over the demolition as “The building had not been gazetted as a historical landmark under the Antiquities Ordinance” No 09 of 1940.

The DG went on to note that there are many other locations of historic importance in Colombo that have not yet been gazetted as historic Antiquities Ordinance and that steps to gazette these landmarks have been expedited.

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