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New land laws before end of year

A new legislation titled "Lands (Special Provisions) Bill" would be presented to Parliament before the end of the year to do away with or relax various restrictions on land use and ownership, Lands Minister John Amaratunga said.

He said the Bill would grant outright ownership of lands to those who possess Swarna Bhoomi and Jaya Bhoomi deeds. He said disputes among the members in the same family had risen due to various restrictions in the law on land ownership and transfer. He said the new legislation would solve those issues.

Another new legislation titled ‘Land Bank Bill’ would also be presented before the end of year to simplify the release of state lands for various purposes, Minister Amaratunga said. A data bank of all state lands would be maintained under that legislation.

He said the land held by security establishments in the North would be gradually released to the original owners in a manner that does not compromise national security.

The regulations presented to the House by the Minister were to expedite the land acquisition and compensation payment during the construction of Matara - Hambantota Extension of Southern Expressway and Central Expressway.