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Dilmah to get 155 perch Yala land


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The Tourism Ministry has received permission to allocate 155 perches of land next to the Yala National Park to Wild Coast Tented Lodge, which is a venture of MJF Holdings. 

The allocation comes in addition to a seven-acre site already allocated to Wild Coast Tented Lodge in September 2012, according to the Cabinet paper submitted by Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga. Under the new measure the company will be given the land adjacent to Yala Block C on a lease of 50 years with the price to be determined by the Chief Valuer. 

 “As the SLTDA, as a matter of policy, reserves approximately 75 to 100 meters in between allotments there will not be a significant adverse impact on the environment as a result of the allocation of an additional extent as requested by the developer,” the Cabinet paper said. 

MJF Holdings, which also holds the famed tea company Dilmah, expects to open the resort in 2017, according to its website. 

“Opening mid-2017, this luxurious tented lodge sits on a deserted beach on the edge of Yala National Park, the leopard hot spot in southeastern Sri Lanka. 28 vaulted ‘Cocoon’ tents offer the comfort of a luxury hotel with the excitement of a safari-style wilderness experience. The air-conditioned Cocoons measure a generous 55 m2 and are furnished to the highest specification. Some have their own plunge pools. They are dotted around five watering holes designed to attract a variety of birdlife and amphibians, which can be viewed from each Cocoon’s outdoor viewing deck. The family area Cocoons come with a fun adjoining twin-bedded children’s ‘Urchin’ tent.” 

The land was initially assigned based on a memorandum submitted by former Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa in 2012 and was approved by the Cabinet. Following approval from the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), the project kicked off in 2015 but due to complications had requested an additional extent of land to proceed with their original project. The total project cost was not mentioned in the Cabinet paper.         


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