State Lands (Special Provisions) Bill to acquire 1.2 mn acres of land for economic corridor?

by Staff Writer 31-07-2019 | 9:45 PM
COLOMBO (News 1st) - The Opposition stated in parliament today(July 31) that the State Lands (Special Provisions) Bill should be withdrawn immediately as the process of presenting it to the parliament was not followed. UPFA MP Dinesh Gunawardena noted that the Supreme Court already ruled that the Land Special Provisions Act was brought to parliament illegally and therefore the act should be withdrawn from parliament by the government. He went on to note that it was a violation of the constitution and correct protocol is that the President should direct it to the provincial councils in order for the government to present it in parliament. UPFA MP Udaya Gammanpila shared that there could be only one provincial council left and the act must be referred to the Uva Provincial Council. He added that Minister Kirella is a lawyer and he knows it. Minister Lakshman Kiriella, Leader of the House raised his voice to justify their cause and noted that 2.5 mn citizens in the country do not have deeds and they cannot either obtain a loan from a bank or transfer their land to their children. He added that the act was brought to resolve this matter and the opposition is against it. UPFA MP Sisira Jayakody noted that what Lakshman Kiriella is stating is fiction and their true intention is to steal the land and assist the US in their economic corridor. UPFA MP, Wimal Weerawansa revealed that according to the Millenium Challenge Cooperation is to promote the land market in the country. He added that one of the proposals is to establish the state land bank. In order to set this plan in motion the permit on lands could be avoided when the deeds of these specific lands are given to the farmers and other individuals. MP revealed that the US has proposed an economic corridor from Trincomalee to Colombo and to make it a reality they would have to acquire 1.2 million acres of land. He added that the State Lands (Special Provisions) Bill is instrumental in the construction of this economic corridor. Minister Lakshman Kiriella, noted that they will continue to examine the decision of the Supreme Court and act upon it. He added that 90% of lands in Sri Lanka are owned by the government.