Business Times

Kuchchaveli becomes a reality – but no win-win this time

By Duruthu Edirimuni Chandrasekera

The Attorney General’s (AG) Department has finalised the lease agreement for land owned in the Kuchchaveli Tourism Zone (KTZ), according to highly placed sources. “It was finalised last week and now anyone who pays Rs. 20 million an acre upfront can purchase the land,” a source told the Business Times.

But prospective investors who were promised land in this area, are joining forces to battle the unfair treatment meted out to them and have written to the President hoping for some respite saying they were given land for less than Rs 50,000 per acre for a 30-year lease through the bidding process and now are unable to pay Rs 20 million an acre.

“According to our information, the President has requested the Sri Lanka Tourist Board (SLTB) to reduce the Rs 20 million to Rs 10 million an acre,” an investor told the Business Times. The source said so far five parties including the International Construction Consortium (Pvt) Ltd have signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to lease 20-acre lands.

“Two parties are currently discussing to secure 50-acres and 25-acres,” he added. But investors say that these parties haven’t still paid the money. “That’s because it's difficult for them to source the cash,” the investor added.

The eastern region is also being developed as a tourist destination, with an area of about 500 acres identified for tourism development in Kuchchaveli in the Trincomalee district. The land earmarked for projects bordering the beach is situated north of the popular Nilaveli beach and the Kuchchaveli resort is planned as a ‘Green Integrated Resort’, focusing on sustainable development.

At that time the Urban Development Authority (UDA) had begun to identify suitable locations for different categories of tourism facilities, such as hotels, guesthouses, conference facilities, and locations for recreational activities etc. “In addition, they said that the maximum number of rooms per acre will be limited and the footprint of any area to be built up shall not exceed 25% of the land,” the investor said. He said that a Conceptual Zoning Plan was prepared for the area by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) with the assistance of the UDA.

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