Key estate lands sought by the govt.
Planters’ Association Chairman, Sunil Poholiyadde says that the Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) had requested for around 6,120 hectares of key estate lands with the intention of setting up industrial zones under the BOI.
Poholiyadde said this at the 163rd AGM of the Planters’ Association.
“Five plots of land from three companies namely Kotagala Plantations, Horana Plantations and Pussellawa Plantations have been approached for land acquisition. This has been requested for the establishment of industries and it is the largest amount of estate properties that were requested for acquisition by the state in RPC history.It is understood that these properties so acquired are to be used for the establishment of industrial zones under the BOI,” he said.
Once before Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinge is said to have requested for the acquisition of key estate lands, initially requesting for 200 acres from each plantation which was brought down to 100 acres where only one plantation was willing to cooperate.
It was reported that local politicians hoping to secure personal stakes in the properties had increased the requested extent to 1,000 acres per estate, which the RPCs dismissed.
The RPCs has been known to file legal proceedings against plantations that were unwilling to cooperate with the government in such acquisitions. However, as the present government has pledged not to use agricultural lands for non-agricultural purposes this move has come as a surprise.
Though the Finance Ministry and BOI have repeatedly requested for the land, the Divisional Secretaries are said to be delaying on proceeding with the acquisitions.
Despite resistance to such acquisitions, in the 1980s land was acquired for the Matugama Industrial village and another in Ratnapura which was later converted for gem mining purposes.
If industrial parks are set in these large tracts of land it will attract many potential investors similar to the wave of investments that came in after 1978 when the economy was liberalised and many industrial parks set up.
|Article Code :||VBS/AT/06102017/Z_3|