Sri Lanka's Land Ownership Act, which would entitle more than a million landless people in the country to state land grants, has finally been given cabinet approval. The bill will be presented in the Lankan parliament soon.
The cabinet nod was delayed because President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga had put a spanner in the works by objecting to a number of provisions in the bill. One of the sticking points related to the stipulation that necessitated the lands minister's signature on all title deeds. She had insisted that a panel be formed to take a decision. The issue was resolved after it was decided that the deeds would contain the signatures of the President as well as that of the lands minister, Rajitha Senaratne.
According to Senaratne, land distribution will start from the divisional secretariat level. Grants will be vested in the land commissioner and a land committee appointed by the ministry. "The panel will go through each request thoroughly to make sure that the lands go to the correct applicant. The act also stipulates that the applicants who submit wrong information and obtain land unlawfully should be subjected to one year's imprisonment and fined," he said.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.