Government to broad-base state land ownership facilitating investors
By: Staff Writer
Colombo (LNW): Sri Lanka government is reviewing existing laws on state-owned lands in the extent of 82 percent of available land to broad-base ownership
Another objective is to provide ownership of lands for those who are living on state lands through legal means for more than 10 years.
The new inititive covers lands granted under the provisions of the Land Development Ordinance, lands disposed under the provisions of the Land Grant (Special Provisions) Act or lands provided under the Crown Lands Ordinance.
The land accessibility and land disputes and the lack of proper land management system are the current impediments for potential industrialists setting up new business ventures in the island, a senior official of the Finance Ministry said.
The other main issue was that 60 percent of private owned lands have been mortgaged to banks and finance companies as collateral for massive loans.
At present Sri Lanka has no proper national land inventory, not even on state owned lands, he said adding that this situation makes land administration more difficult.
The Government will have to enact new legislation that will permit the conversion of state land permits and grants to unconditional land grants given for the use of people to marketable and bankable title deeds.
It provides provisions to set up an authority that gathers information on state lands and facilitates investment in underutilised state land.
In this context,the government is to implement land project addresses the weaknesses in land administration with foreign funding.
Currently Sri Lanka does not possess a proper national land inventory, not even on state lands.
Under this project it has been planne to create a parcel fabric map (a basic geographically based cadastral map of land parcels) and complete inventory of state lands.
Data thus provided will be entered into the government’s e-State Lands Information Management System (Eslims).
The map will identify location of state land with survey boundaries initially in seven districts in the North Western, North Central, Central and Eastern provinces.
The project seeks to merely strengthen government land administration capacity and assist with technological improvements.
In an attempt to rectify the problematic land registration system in Sri Lanka, a title registration system is being implemented at present called the “Bim Saviya” (Strength of Land ) with the assistance of the World Bank.
It has been implemented in 18 of 43 Land Registries at present. This initiative provides land title free of land fraud and eliminates the procedure of searching predecessors to title 30 years in the past.
In addition the Bim Saviya is also implementing an E-Land registry which is extremely necessary in Sri Lanka.