Legal changes mooted for notice of Sri Lanka land acquisition

ECONOMYNEXT – Changes are needed to Sri Lanka urban development regulations to ensure prior notice of land acquisitions in order to give better effect to the new Right to Information law, Verité Research, a private think-tank, said.

It said in a new study of the RTI act that existing regulations might not encourage adequate disclosure by public officials when lands are taken over for urban development projects.

The present Urban Development Project Act empowers the Minister in charge of Urban Development to declare any particular land is urgently required for an urban development project that would meet the just requirements of the people.

It also required the Minister to give three months notice before the project starts to the public generally, and to any particular persons likely to be affected by such projects.

But the act does not require the President, who is empowered to publish a declaration in the gazette for acquiring the land, to publish the declaration three months prior to the project’s initiation.
“The absence of this timeframe could result in confusion among Urban Development Authority officials regarding the appropriate publication process for information relating to development projects,” Verité Research said.
It is recommended that section 2 of the Urban Development Project Act be amended to require that the declaration pertaining to lands to be acquired be published at least three months prior to the commencement of the project.
(COLOMBO, July 04, 2017)

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