‘Govt’s craze to grant land deeds a ploy to eventually dispossess poor’



By Ifham Nizam

Many organisations that fight for the cause of the public yesterday said that the government had put them in a tricky situation over the distributing of land with an ulterior motive, according to the whims and fancies of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) said that it was not in a position to force the government not to give lands.

CEJ Executive Director, Hemantha Withanage told The Island that giving land titles to the people was necessary. 

"But the Land Bank, backed by the World Bank is trying to convert common lands to private lands to that they could be sold. The poor do this in other countries for short term gain.

"People living on common land cannot even draw bank loans for building houses."

Movement for Land and Agricultural Reform (MONLAR) Convener Chinthaka Rajapakshe said that the government was trying to create a cheap labour force for the implementation of neoliberal economic policies, by amending` land laws.

Plans were underway to distribute one million land deeds to the people so that those lands would end with the multinationals, he said.

Rajapakshe said that in a recent study they had looked at all documents approved by the Cabinet between January 2015 and April 2019 on land reform, recommendations given by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) to the government on the land rights of the people and bi-lateral trade agreements between Sri Lanka and other countries had the potential projects that would deprive the people of their land rights.

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