Jan 05, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government today reiterated that the 15,000 acres of land proposed to be allocated for the Hambanthota Port development project is mostly state land and it will not be handed over to China as reports claimed.
Issuing a press release the Government Information Department said it is a "blatant lie" to say that 15,000 acres in Hambantota will be handed over to China as different investors from different countries will arrive to the industrial, technological and tourism zones constructed under the plan.
The government said 95 percent of the proposed land belongs to the State and only 5 percent of private land will be acquired for the gigantic project. The Government will compensate the owners of the private land and also will grant special concessions for houses and cultivations in those lands.
It further assured that the acquisition of land will not affect Buddhist or any other religious place of worship.
Investments by investors will provide 300,000 direct employment opportunities and another indirect means of income to several hundreds of thousands.
Full text of the press release:
A group of bankrupt politicians are launching a sinister plan to build up public opinion against the development drive by stating that 15,000 acres in Hambantota will be handed over to the Chinese under the Southern Development Plan and Buddhist places of worship and archeologically valuable sites will be destroyed.
A most noteworthy fact to be considered is the shedding of such crocodile tears by the very groups that agreed to fully hand over the Hambantota port to the China Harbour Corporation and who attacked with bombs the Dalada Maligawa and tried to break the Malwatta Chapter of the Maha Sangha into two.
A number of agreements with different investors are expected to be signed under the Southern development Plan and only the Framework Agreement on the development of the port has been signed so far. Discussions on certain other agreements are progressing while still other agreements are not yet even discussed.
Further the relevant Ministers will in turn inform all parties including the Maha Nayake Theras of other agreements that will be signed in future.
The Hambantota port will be transformed into an active and successful port by increasing the number of goods exported through it. Hence, opportunities should be made available to ship goods newly produced in near-by factories. It is estimated that at least 1,500 factories are required to attain this objective. It is also estimated that land to the extent of 15,000 acres will be required for the factories, ware houses, hostels for employee and their recreational facilities.
What would actually happen is the identification and allocation of land only. They will be handed over to factories and other constructions as investors come.
In this way less than 4,000 acres in the Hambantota district are to be identified for development purposes. What should be emphasized is that 95 % of proposed land belongs to the State. Accordingly only 5 % of private land will be acquired for this gigantic project. The Government will provide not only a special compensation payment but will also grant special concessions for houses and cultivations in the said lands. This method has been implemented in acquiring land for development purposes in many districts and the people have happily given their lands for the development of the country.
The world trend in launching a development drive is to allocate land early. Examples could be found not only in the world but also in neighbouring Tamil Nadu, India. Sri Lankans who have travelled from Chennai to Kanchipuram have seen with their own eyes how land has been allocated for industrial zones adjoining roads.
Similarly it is a blatant lie to say that 15,000 acres in Hambantota will be handed over to China. Different investors from different countries will arrive to the industrial, technological and tourism zones constructed under the plan. Investments by investors will provide 300,000 direct employment opportunities and another indirect means of income to several hundreds of thousands.
Acquisition of land will not affect Buddhist or any other religious place of worship. Historical heritage sites will also be not endangered. The Yahapalana Government has worked its development plans adopting methods for defending, preserving and developing such important locations. Accordingly it will be the responsibility of all new factories to nurture and develop near-by places of worship.
Since the true situation was such as described above we appeal to all Sri Lankans not be deceived by bankrupt politicians and individuals who burgled the national heritage in the guise of circuses such as Deyata Kirula, bombed the Dalada Maligawa, patronized motor races and cabaret performances in the vicinity of the Dalada Maligawa thereby infringing the religious dignity and sanctity and not only engaged in dividing the Maha Sangha but also escalating communalism and religious discord.