The gazette to rob state lands withdrawn due to protest
Ajith Perakum Jayasinghe
The vast majority who acquired government lands by force in Sri Lanka are scrupulous elements in the society. They have done so with the political powers, especially regarding the encroachment of state lands in urban areas. The businessmen with political powers have acquired hundreds of acres of land in this manner.
In the villages, some have encroached government lands in small scale. All of such squatters are not poor people.
Even if it is committed by rich or poor, it is sheer robbery. They are brave enough to involve in these robberies and fraudulent activities by force. That is how they outsmart the lawful citizens of the country who never engage in such unscrupulous acts.
This is a punishable offence and not a talent that must be awarded in any way. Considering the wrongful acts of the most underprivileged segments of society through the lens of sympathy is quite reasonable. Penalties must be imposed on all other incidents. Unauthorized structures must be demolished. Otherwise, such structures or lands can be leased out for specific periods subjected to a reasonable monthly rental. However, there must be justifiable reasons if those are to be leased out to existing occupants. Are they providing employment to others?
Extraordinary gazette bearing No. 2192/36 on September 10, 2020 made the provisions for the robbers to establish legal ownership for these encroached lands.
Gazette notification to provide ownerships for forceful encroachers
Those who directed the government for this task is still not clear. The government must reveal whether this is an act by the Commissioner General of Lands or by the Minister or the President. Was there any influence from the hierarchy or was there any cabinet decision? We must not forget that this can be an attempt to benefit the henchmen of the politicians who are in power.
Enactment of this gazette would impact unfavourably on forest reserves, catchment areas of reservoirs, reserved lands, thoroughfares and rail tracks. Therefore the society opposed to that.
The government annulled the previous gazette by another gazette bearing No. 2194/28 of September 22, 2020.
Red in Sinhala රජයේ ඉඩම් මංකොල්ලකෑමේ ආණ්ඩුවේ ගැසට්ටුව විරෝධය නිසා අකුලා ගනී
Translated by Rajendra Wijesinghe