KELUM BANDARA AND YOHAN PERERA
President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in his budget speech, announced yesterday that 37,000 hectares of land belonging to the plantation sector would be acquired in the similar manner the government took over underperforming and underutilised assets of 37 companies through the Act enacted in the House on November 9, 2011.
The President also announced the acquisition of the assets of these companies in the last budget. He said the government had identified the 37,000 hectares of land which was not productively used. Once acquired, he said, these lands would be fragmented into two blocks each to be distributed among small holders on lease agreements.
“Steps will be taken to extend suitable financial assistance to such small holders to develop them. In addition, high quality seeds and planting material will also be provided to them,” he said.
Referring to the Act passed for the acquisition of assets of 37 companies, he said it was not a statute that is opposed to private property rights.
“All such assets were owned by the state. They were given to the private sector with the objective of putting them into more productive use in the interest of national economy,” he said.
Source: Daily Mirror – Sri Lanka