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Questions over huge land deals

12 September 2011 08:00 pm - 4     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Questions are being asked as to why the Economic Development Ministry is allegedly circumventing tender procedures when giving out land for tourism in areas such as Kalpitiya in the Puttalam District and Kuchchaveli in the Trincomalee District.

Deputy Economic Development Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardane admitted in parliament last week that an open tender procedure was not being followed as a policy mater for the identification of investors for tourism development. “Sometimes, those who bid for tenders are not financially stable to make investments as expected by the government.

Therefore, we have devised a different model to select investors,” he said. Already, the government had identified hundreds of acres of land in different islands off Kalpitiya for investment. For instance 152.445 acres in the Ippantivu Island had been given out last year while the government had given 247 acres on the Island of Iramuthivu, 58 acres at Vellai, 67 acres at Kakativu, 110 acres at Periya Arachchilai, five acres at Sinna Iramuthivu, ten acres on Iramuthivu-west, 40 acres from Sinna Arachchilai, 292 acres from Baththalangunduwa, 150 acres from Palliyawatte and 1109 acres from Uchchimunai. Besides, 307 acres of private land had been earmarked by the government to be awarded to prospective investors. However, the identity of the owners of these land areas is yet to be established.

The government leased out 135 acres on the Ippantivu Island to a private company to construct a tourist resort with a 200-room capacity and 58 acres from Vellai to construct a 50-room hotel.

The annual lease income from the Ippantivu Island is Rs.4.2 million and from Vellai is Rs.1.060 million. The government has leased out 30 acres on Kuchchaveli for two separate tourrist projects.

These details were tabled in the House in response to a question by JVP MP Ajith Kumara. The minister admitted that the tender procedure was not followed in awarding these lands for investment. Mr. Kumara shot back at the government saying there were serious concerns about the transparency and accountability in carrying out these land deals in the absence of tender procedure. JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake also charged that no one would raise any concern had private lands belonging to ministers have been leased out in this manner. “Land is the property of future generations of this country. Nobody can lease out state property to individuals of their choice,” he said.

UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake said not only in Kalpitiya and Kuchachaveli, but also in areas such as Colombo, commercially viable lands were being leased out in this manner. The UNP MP also said there were serious issues of transparency in this case. “We also raised this issue in parliament. They admitted it openly. This is how corruption is taking place in the country. Corrupt practices are everywhere,” he charged. (Kelum Bandara) 
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  • willowsw Tuesday, 13 September 2011 08:07 AM

    reason is 10%

    YURI Tuesday, 13 September 2011 04:43 AM

    YEAH ITS A BIG SECRET

    The God Father Tuesday, 13 September 2011 11:12 AM

    And a known secret

    firdhous Tuesday, 13 September 2011 11:51 AM

    no matter public or secrete. It is the right step that government lease / rent property to private sector as a share holder in business which will increase government’s income of which more public welfare could be made. I hope the government should buy valuable lands and buildings and rent/lease to private sector for reasonable charges which is good for the very private sector / business community


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