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FeaturesGovt. moves to take back some land powers

Govt. moves to take back some land powers

When land powers are already vested with the Provincial Councils under the 13th Amendment of the constitution, opposition parties are perplexed at the Government’s move to introduce an amendment to the Town and Country Planning Bill through the Provincial Councils which will enable the Central Government to take over certain lands at the discretion of the Minister of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs.

This amendment will be moved at the Western Provincial Council and the Central Provincial Council today (6).The Leader of the Opposition in the Western Provincial Council Manju Sri Arangala said that his party (UNP) was totally against the amendment which could even be used to acquire private lands. He however noted that the Government with its big majority could bulldoze the amendment through.

Democratic Peoples Front (DPF) Secretary-General and WP Councillor Dr. Kumar Guruparan said that his party’s leader Mano Ganeshan had discussions over this issue with UNP and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and had decided oppose any moves to amend the particular bill as land powers were vested with the Provincial Councils as already enshrined in the constitution under the 13th amendment. He said that land powers would not be handed back to the Central Government at any cost.

Leader of the TMVP Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, the Chief Minister of the Eastern Provincial Council too is reported to be against any amendment that would give the Central Government a hand in land powers which is now with the Provincial Councils as per the constitution and they are also pushing for police powers to be given to the Provincial Councils.

Political sources are of the opinion that even if this amendment is passed in Provincial Councils in which the UPFA has a majority, it has to be approved in Parliament. Only the Eastern Provincial Council will be against the amendment.

JVP Parliamentarian Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that they would take a decision on the matter this morning (Monday), but Parliament would have the final say
By Lal Gunesekera

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