Sri Lanka to lease prime land, re-settle squatters

Aug 12, 2010 (LBO) – The Sri Lankan plans to develop prime land in Colombo occupied by squatters by leasing some lands and issuing debentures to raise funds for the work, a minister said. Government spokesman Anura Yapa, who is environment minister, said a survey revealed that 66,000 low-income families were living in Colombo and its environs occupying “very valuable” land in the city “in a haphazard manner”.

“Under the government’s urban development programme, the relocation of occupants in underserved settlements is a vital requirement,” he told a news conference.

The Urban Development Authority has formulated a project proposal to develop such valuable lands estimated at 142 acres in stages and to improve the living standard of the low income communities of the city.

Yapa said the Cabinet of minister at its weekly meeting approved a proposal by the Ministry of Defence, under which the UDA comes, to issue UDA debentures to raise five billion rupees.

The money will be used for development activities in Colombo and adjoining urban areas.

Until it obtains funds, the government will also lease out 78 acres of such land at two million rupees a perch, Yapa said.