Railways Department has 5739.8 hectares of unused land – Minister
Transport, Highways and Mass Media Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardhana told Parliament yesterday (3) that the Sri Lanka Railways Department has 5739.8 hectares of unused land.
The Minister also stated that a system should be developed to take over the land owned by the Railways Department and find out about those who have acquired them without permission.
The Minister said this while replying to the question asked by MP Samanpriya Herath expecting oral answers.
The Minister stated that the Railways Department is the owner of most of the lands spread across the country and these lands have been leased out in illegal and irregular ways.
Minister Gunawardhana further said that land has been seized by force without paying rent.
The Minister also said that a Cabinet paper has been submitted to prepare a formal system in this regard, and due to departmental problems within the department, permission was sought to establish a separate company for the management of railway property assets, but permission was not received.
The Minister also added that there are 400 railway stations and from one station to another two kilometers to this side and two kilometers to the other side, the responsibility of the Station Master should be assigned to remove illegal settlements and a system should be prepared to pay tax to those who have been residing for a long period of time and increase the income.
The Minister also said that a percentage of the increased income under such a system should be paid to the staff including the station master or the tax income should be increased.
The Minister said that the system should be completed and a complete listing should be done and the measurements of some places should be completed within the next six months and this problem has existed since the British colonial era. The Minister said that this can be corrected with a national programme.
He also added that complaints have been made to the Criminal Investigation Department regarding the illegally used land and that if anyone submits a proposal for the effective use of this land, he is ready to consider it and give it under a long-term lease basis with the approval of the Cabinet.
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