ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 43

Another land grab hits Madiwela

The sale of five acres of land next to the MPs Housing Complex in Madiwela, Kotte has raised concern among employees of the Urban Development Authority (UDA) and opposition MPs who charge the property is being sold far below its market value.

The exact extent of the land is five acres and eight perches and it is being sold to a private property developer for the construction of a housing complex under a BOI approved project on a 50 year lease agreement.

The Government Valuers Department has estimated the land at Rs 86. 5 million, which means a perch would be around Rs. 190, 000.

However, UDA sources said the market price of a perch of land in this area even by modest estimates is over Rs 500,000 and hence the sale of this land at the state estimated rate would result in the loss of millions of rupees to the state. Urban Development and Sacred Areas Development Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said the UDA was going by the assessment of the Chief Government Valuer and this was the second valuation done on the land by the Department. “A decision has been taken on the land and all that is left to be done is the final agreement,” he said.

In June last year, the Department had valued the land at Rs. 72, 000 a perch or Rs. 58 million for the whole extent. However, due to protests from the Professionals Association of the UDA, another estimate was called for this year and in February, the entire extent was re-estimated at Rs 86.5 million.

The Government Chief Valuer said the Department has followed the standard procedure followed in valuing any land.

The UDA Professionals Association however says the UDA would receive Rs. 304 million for the entire land if a perch is sold at Rs 500,000. Its sale at the price of Rs 86.5 million as estimated by the Valuation Department would mean a loss of over Rs. 200 million to the Authority.

JVP Colombo district MP Sunil Handunnetti who raised a question in parliament on the handing over of the land to a private company on Tuesday said more caution needs to be exercised in the releasing of state land so that the state can get the proper value for the land.

This land is close to the land which was developed to construct a presidential palace during the tenure of President Chandrika Kumaratunga in 2001 but was abandoned due to protests. Later one and a half acres of land valued at around Rs Rs100 million was granted to President Kumaratunga from this land, when she retired in December 2005. But this too was subsequently handed back to the UDA after this free grant of land was challenged in the Supreme Court.The price of real estate in this area has shot up in the past few years with many new residential areas coming up, UDA sources said.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.