Lanka’s 82 pc of lands belong to state: Professor Selvakumaran | Daily News

Lanka’s 82 pc of lands belong to state: Professor Selvakumaran

The Legal Aid Commission of Sri Lanka with the financial assistance of USAID Civil Society Initiatives for the Rule of Law Project carried out a project on legal issues related to land in selected areas of the country.

Designed and structured by the Programme Support Unit of the Legal Aid Commission with the guidance of USAID CSI.ROL Project, the objectives of this initiative was to identify and document land issues that concern an identified group of people in Eastern and Sabaragamuwa Provinces with the intention of advocacy with government officials leading to policy reform in the provincial and national levels.

The main work task included gathering data and identifying the issues through pre-arrangement visits and focus group discussions. Follow up visits were made to the field and to various related departments to verify the accuracy of the issues gathered.

The coordinators appointed for the project also made several advocacy visits to liaise with government officials to try and resolve the issues, refer them to the relevant institutions and make efforts to resolve the issues through mediation and conducting mobile clinics.

However, the issues which were not resolved were referred to and discussed at two provincial forums in the Eastern and Sabaragamuwa Provinces in which the relevant provincial governmental officials and the selected representatives of people facing identified legal issues discussed these issues with a view to resolution and settlement.

The issues which were not resolved at the provincial level together with project experience, a summary of the results and data gathered and the policy recommendations suggested by the project team culminated into one policy paper prepared by Project Consultant Naganathan Selvakumaran, Professor of Law, University of Colombo and presented at a National Forum held on October 24 at Hotel Galadari.

At the forum, he said that total land area of this country is 65,610 square kilometres including an inland water area of around 2905 square kilometres.

Of this land area, it is said that 18 percent only is privately owned land and the balance 82 percent state land, i.e., belonging to the state.

With regard to the lands which are known as state lands, there are many laws passed by the national legislature, before and after independence, which apply to them.

Some are: Waste Lands Ordinance, 1897; Land Development Ordinance, 1935; Crown Lands Ordinance, 1840; Crown Lands Encroachment Ordinance, 1841; State Lands Ordinance, 1947; Land Resumption Ordinance, 1887; Land Redemption Ordinance, 1942 & 1947; Land Settlement Ordinance, 1931; Sale of State Lands (Special Provisions) Law, 1973; State Land (Recovery of Possession) Act, 1979; Land Grants (Special Provisions) Act 1979; Land Acquisition Act, 1950; Land Reform Law, 1972 & 1975; Mahaweli Authority of Sri Lanka Act, 1979; National Environment Act, 1988; Prescription Ordinance, 1871; Thoroughfares Ordinance, 1861; National Thoroughfares Act, 2008; Forest Ordinance, 1907; Fauna & Flora Protection Ordinance, 1937; Local Authorities Laws (MC Ordinance, UC Ordinance, PS Act); and the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

The policy paper identifies the following land issues in Sabaragamuwa and Eastern Provinces and also provide recommendations to resolve the issues.

Some important issues discussed at the Forum:


* Issues related to lands coming under the Land Reform Commission (LRC)

* Issues relating to Ceylon Government Railway (CGR) land

* Issues related to Land Acquisition by Town Expanding Project in Eheliyagoda DS Division

* Issues related to Forest Land in Paragala Mukalana, Iluktenna, Moragaha Mukalana areas

* Issues related to Estate Land – Helington Estate


* Issues related to forest lands in Henagegoda and Halwinna areas

* Issues related to developing footpaths and road access

* Issues related to Mahaweli Lands

* Issues related to land title Walakada and Kaella DS Divisions

* Issues related to Estates- Palm Garden and Dehenakanda


* 15th Distribution Channel Land

* Soodaikuda Land

* Pulmottai 13th Milepost Land

* Thennamaravadi Land

* Manachenai Land

* Selvanagar Land

* Pulmottai Land

* Poonagar Land

* Thangapuram Land

* Ullaikulam Land


* Vedar Kudiyiruppu Land

* Muruthana Land

* Meeravodai Land

* Eravur Land


There are 2 Comments

Should also include all the government institutions and corporations, including other government owned built lands and farms and estates, etc.

British Management Systems of their underdeveloped colonies, venerated worldwide, are being made a mockery in Sri Lanka during the post independence era of over 60 years after 1948 , by Acts of local pundits . Same applies to Lands & Roads in Sri Lanka.

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