A proper mechanism was required to provide blocks of lands to the landless, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday.
He said that even though lands had been marked to be allocated for the low-income people, there were many incidents of these people not receiving land.
Speaking at a ceremony to hand over title deeds of the Land Reform Commission at Temple Trees, the Prime Minister said measures would be taken not to repeat such incidents in the future.
The Prime Minister said that when the Land Reform Act No. 1 of 1972 was introduced in Parliament, they were able to vote in favour of the bill and pass it.
“After the Land Reform Act was passed, the Land Reform Commission was established. After its establishment, the land was taken over by the Government.
“A large number of lands were then marked for settlement and the collective settlement system was established. Some lands were given for agricultural and industrial projects as well,” he said.
Mr Rajapaksa said to his recollection, he had participated in at least 16 ceremonies to award title deeds to people and that even in the recent past, the land deeds had borne the signature of Mahinda Rajapaksa.
“The deeds were distributed by President Maithripala Sirisena but they had my signature. The deeds of land belonging to the Land Reforms Commission are being given to 2,500 families today. Since they had been residing for years in the land with no deeds, they have faced numerous problems,” he said.
“Today, I am pleased to be able to bring you to this hall and present the deeds. This hall was built for a function attended by leaders from many countries around the world.
“The opponents said there were golden toilets in this hall and that this was the palace with gold. But there is no such gold today. Seems they have taken it along with them. Anyone can sling mud when they want to do so,” he said.
Land deeds were given to the Ceylon Electricity Board, Kaduwela Municipal Council, entrepreneurs and many others during the function.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Lands and Land Development Minister S.M. Chandrasena, State Minister S. B. Dissanayake, Chairman of the Land Reforms Commission, Nilantha Wijesinghe and others were also present.