Protest over MP’s land grab in Nattandiya | Daily News

Protest over MP’s land grab in Nattandiya

A group of Nattandiya area residents yesterday staged a protest in front of a coconut estate claiming that the land belonging to the Government has been forcibly acquired by a Puttalam District MP for over four years. The protesters said that a 52 acre land in Thorawetiya Estate in Nattandiya owned by the Land Reforms Commission is being misused by Puttalam District MP, Puttalam District Development Committee Chairman Ashoka Priyantha. Nattandiya Pradeshiya Sabha Deputy Chairman Prasannna Marasinghe said this land was forcibly acquired by the aforesaid MP during the ‘Yahapalana’ regime and he has been enjoying the income of this land till now.

They had come to the estate yesterday following information that the MP was coming with a group of underworld members to harvest the coconuts this time as well. However, no one came to harvest coconuts till noon yesterday. It is reportedly nearly 26,000 coconuts are harvested from this land in a season.

Nattandiya Pradheshiya Sabha Deputy Chairman and members representing Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna participated in the protest adhering to the health rules and regulations.

With the permission of the Land Reforms Commission, the protesters entered the land to find vehicles and machinery on the land. Marawila Police arrived and dispersed the protesters later.

Puttalam District Land Reform Commission Assistant Director Rasika Udayangani said there was nearly 50 acres of land in the Thorawetiya estate which has about 1,500 acres was leased out in 2014 to a person named Sanjaya Fernando by the name of Thorawetiya and Company in 2014. However, it has been reported that he is not in the country at present and a case has been filed in the Marawila Courts as he has evaded paying taxes since then. Puttalam District MP Ashoka Priyantha denied allegations made against him of encroaching on the land and requested that the telephone conversation not be recorded.