Laggala of Matale is the first ever re-located green town of Sri Lanka. Historically significant Laggala was inundated by water from the Kalu Ganga reservoir of the gargantuan Moragahakanda- Kalu Ganga Project which was initiated with the objective of providing water for the areas of dry zone in the North, North Central and Central Provinces.
The largest reservoir of multipurpose Mahaweli Project at Kalu Ganga was established to foster the agricultural civilization of the country by releasing water to irrigate the scorched lands in many provinces, in which the agriculture has been cramped due to unavailability of water. In the process of making the country’s largest reservoir a reality, for the benefit of people of the area as well as of the far areas in the dry zone, the inhabitants had no alternative but to compromise their dwelling where they have been living for generations and, most importantly where their cherished and nostalgic life events took place.
That old Laggala which is recorded in ancient chronicles of the country is now no more. It is found in the deepest part of the country’s largest reservoir of the capacity of 265 million cubic meters.
The old Laggala town was a neglected and an underdeveloped area and the people were living under meager facilities with less infrastructure, healthcare and education facilities. The farmers found it difficult to engage in agriculture due to unavailability of water. The buildings belonging to state institutions were dilapidated and had no sufficient government servants. The economic status of the inhabitants was low as no development project reached the area.
Although, many politicians were elected to the Parliament with the votes of those innocent people of Laggala, nary attended to the needs of those people.
However, it is only with the initiation of Moragahakanda- Kalu Ganga Project, the lifestyle of those people who were leading lives under dire conditions, were revived and uplifted.
The inhabitants of the area were successfully re-located in a developed and uplifted area near the old Laggala town. The new Laggala is a fully-fledged town with all the facilities for urban dwelling. The new green town was set up in 75 hectare plot of land with an investment of Rs. 60,000 million. There are 112 buildings and 26 essential state institutions including Pradeshiya Sabha, Divisional Secretariat, three new National Schools, two junior schools, zonal education office, public library, teachers training center, Govijana Seva center, fully-fledged hospital, healthcare center, Police station, wildlife and forest office, co-operative center, play ground complex, public fair, public market, bus depot, post office, banks and financial institutes etc. in the relocated and developed Laggala town.
The new town which is disaster- resistant has essential infrastructure and improved road system.
The new Laggala Green Town was developed according to a green city concept which is trending in the world today by incorporating the urban planning and management concepts such as energy infrastructure, land planning, greenery and compactness. All institutions and community centres are located according to a systematic structure.
The town is planned and set up without impairing the sustainability. The electricity required for the entire Laggala town is provided by solar power. The Laggala green town project has utilized the energy as a steward of resource efficiency and green performance. This new green town promotes energy efficiency and renewable energy in all the activities of the town. This energy-saving mechanism in Laggala town contributes to the country’s economic growth while assuring sustainability.
Laggala town is a role model for other places in the country and the authorities can learn many aspects from this green city in ensuring sustainable growth of other areas of the country.