- 4-member committee to evaluate better use of land under railway
- 80% of land illegally occupied, says Transport Minister
Cabinet this week approved the appointment of a committee of Cabinet Ministers to study the utilisation of an estimated 14,000 acres of land held by the Railway Department.
Cabinet Spokesman and Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the Railway Department possess approximately 14,000 acres of reserved land, of which about 10% was leased to various parties.
“However, about 80% of the remaining land is illegally occupied. These unauthorised occupants include the departmental officers as well as those who are retired from the departmental service. These lands are being used for unauthorised purposes, such as construction of houses and business premises and cultivation.”
Some railway employees who have illegally acquired Railway Department lands were removed through court action. There have also been instances of disciplinary action being taken against them and the suspension of pension, Minister Rambukwella said. He added that it was view of the Government that these lands be assessed and used in a productive manner, and that it would help to reduce the annual losses of the Railway Department.
Accordingly the Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal presented by Transport Minister Gamini Lokuge to appoint a Committee of Ministers to make recommendations to the Cabinet after studying the matter.
Committee members will be Transport Minister Gamini Lokuge, Public Services, Provincial Councils and Local Government Minister Janaka Bandara Tennakoon, Lands Minister S.M. Chandrasena, and State Minister of Money, Capital Market and State Enterprise Reforms Ajith Nivard Cabraal.