The new Land Bill is gathering controversy before it has reached the floor of Parliament with the SLFP alleging that the government wants to change the law to sell land to foreigners and the Prime Minister’s office swiftly issuing a rebuttal.
SLFP General Secretary Dayasiri Jayasekara on Tuesday, July 9 charged that the new Bill will drive poor peasants off the lands they have been living on for generations.
At a press conference held at the party headquarters in Colombo, he also said that the changes that President Maithripala Sirisena had wanted in the draft Bill when it came before Cabinet, have not been incorporated.
Yesterday July 11, Temple Trees rejected these comments saying that the changes proposed by the President have been sent to the Attorney General for his observations.
Once the AG’s responses are received they will be incorporated at the Committee stage.
Jayasekara also wondered aloud whether the government was planning to sell these lands under the Millennium Challenge Corporation agreement.
The PM’s office refuted that as well and said there were no plans to sell lands to foreigners.
It also pointed out that the Millennium Challenge agreement will bring in US$350 million for upgrades of transport infrastructure in the Western, Uva and Sabaragamuva Provinces.