COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Sri Lanka will cancel a deal involving 15 acres of land from state run diary company in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo, that was given to a private firm, Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe said. "The previous regime chased away ordinary people in the Colombo City who had deeds from the government and other documents," he told a meeting in central Sri Lanka, Saturday.
"Their houses were broken. The police and military was used to chase them away.
"At the same time they gave land to big businessmen in Colombo. One of these people were given 15 acres of land belonging to the ‘Milk Board’. We will cancel these deals and take back the land."
The Milk Board or (Kirimandalaya) is a reference to Milk Industries of Lanka Company Ltd, a state run dairy company.
According to reports the land in Colombo’s Narahenpita area was leased to Sri Lanka’s Softlogic group.
Soflogic Holdings in a stock filing said Monday though it had responded to a tender called by Sri Lanka’s Board of Investment, though it had not received any information and had not signed any formal agreement.
Wickramasinghe’s United National Party has protested actions by President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s brother Gothabaya to take back land from Colombo residents and use it for commercial development.
The worst among them was in Colombo’s Slave Island area where owners of freehold land were evicted for a large commercial development.
The residents were also not given relief despite going to the Supreme Court.
The former regime made many land deals, which were criticized by the UNP and other political parties for lacking transparency.
<i>Update II. Updated with Softlogic Holdings stock exchange filing denying that it was given MILCO land</i>