Recent web media reports flagged that an 85 year old Kovil was going to be relocated in order to create space for a new parking lot to accommodate vehicles arriving at the President’s official residence in Colombo, Temple Trees. Along with the relocation of the Kovil, eviction orders were given to dozens of laundrymen, many of whom had their small homes and livelihoods anchored to this area for decades.

A map of the area can be viewed below.

View Kovil and Laundrymen in a larger map

A recent short-form video (in Sinhala) produced by Vikalpa captured, for the first time, the voices of these laundrymen speaking about their lives, families, work, memories and experiences. Vikalpa‘s video and accompanying photos highlight the extreme hardship of lives so easily erased, trammelled and forgotten – now being moved en masse because, post-war, there are too many SUV’s coming to see Sri Lanka’s President.

Access more photos by Vikalpa here.

  • Safa

    It is tragic that these humble folk, their livelihoods and humble abodes are being removed and dislocated to make way for car parks of the rich and powerful. One remembers the destruction of houses at Glennie street for the 2008 SAARC conference. This seems to be timed for CHOGM in November.

    We have a regime which tends to sweep the stark realities under the carpet and impress the world. Will these people be compensated and offered alternative and equal facilities or will they be banished to the slums of Madampitiya?