Jan 06, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says only 1,235 acres of land will be given from Hambantota to the Chinese companies for investment.
Participating in a discussion with the Buddhist prelates of Hambantota at the Walawa Jayawardenarama Temple in Ambalantota, the Premier said the rest of the 15,000 acres of land proposed for investment will be taken from other districts.
He said the responsibility to select the rest of the land will be assigned to law and Order and Southern Development Minister Sagala Ratnayake and Hambantota district parliamentarian Chamal Rajapaksa.
At the discussion, the chief incumbent of the Tissamaharama Raja Maha Vihara Devalegama Dhammasena thera explained to the Prime Minister that the Maha sangha is against giving land to the Chinese companies, BBC Sandeshaya reported.
The Premier earlier said the 95 percent of the land that will be given to Chinese companies will be state-owned uninhabited land and the remaining five percent is private land for which the government will pay compensation.
The Premier said if land is not given from Hambantota, the government will find land from other districts such as Matara, Ratnapura and Moneragala for development projects.
"If not from Hambanthota, lands will be taken from other districts. If Hambantota doesn't want development there is nothing I can do. I will not force to give land," he said.
Meanwhile, President Maithripala Sirisena asserted that the government has not reached any agreement to provide 15,000 acres from the South to Chinese companies for development projects.
Speaking at an event in Kandy today, the President said he is not ready to give the land rights of this country to any country in the world. He said the land will be given to foreign investors for development according to the laws and regulations of the constitution of Sri Lanka.
The Prime Minister pledged to invite the Maha Sangha in future discussions regarding the next steps. The Premier also said he will instruct the Minister Sagala Ratnayake to get the court to rescind the restraining order issued today banning the protest organized on Saturday in Hambanthota against the Chinese deal.