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Govt accuses opposition of blocking Galle Face Land sale
2011-09-19 19:42:42
With the Cabinet having approved the 99-year lease on seven acres of prime land near the Galle Face Green to the China National Aero-Technology and Export-Import Corporation (CATIC), the government valuer has been directed to work out the lease payments, Economic Development Deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana said today.

He accused the main opposition United National Party (UNP) and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) of having compelled the government to change its earlier decision to sell the property outright at US$94.5 million or at nearly Rs.10 billion and thus having to forego the direct receipt of foreign exchange.

“After the government convinced the Hong Kong based Shangri-La hotel chain to pay US$12.5 million an acre for the block of land it purchased near Galle Face Green for US$125 million, CATIC upped its bid and agreed to pay US$13.5 million an acre. But due to the stiff protests by the opposition over the outright sale of the property the government has now decided on a 99-year lease at a lesser amount,” he said.

The deputy minister said though the opposition had criticized the government over these transactions, state properties worth billions of rupees had been leased out to private companies for pittance by the UNP.

“The previous UNP regimes have sold acres of prime land dirt cheap and the rents quoted have been unbelievably low,” he charged. He said for instance, Lanka Hospitals had to pay for the nearly six acres of land on Elvitigala Mawatha only two percent of the Rs.469 million market for the first five years and four percent thereafter for the 99-year lease while Asiri Medical Services Pvt. Ltd had to pay only four percent of the Rs.101.8 million market value of the nearly two-acre property on Kirimandala Mawatha in Narahenpita for the 99-year lease and two acres of land in Fort was sold to Overseas Reality, the owning company of the World Trade Center for Rs. 48 million in 1996.  (Sandun A. Jayasekera)


Comments - 2
GAMARALA Monday, 19 September 2011 14:29

Reply .
Manujer Tuesday, 20 September 2011 07:59
It is all about development in SL.
Reply .

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