According to the World Weather Chart, Sri Lanka is listed in the fourth place among countries subjected to worst climate change. Improper land use has been one factor which contributed to this situation.As such, land use policy needs to be updated and agricultural construction and other activities should be pursued accordingly, Lands and Parliamentary Reforms Minister Gayantha Karunatilleke said.
The minister was addressing a meeting following the opening of the Gampaha district new land use planning office building, recently.The Department of Land Use Policy Planning has built the new building at a cost of Rs. 12 million to replace the dilapidated old building of the Gampaha office.
The minister said unnecessary expenditure involved in functions could be prevented by conducting the opening ceremony, distribution of land title deeds and the discussion with state officials, including divisional secretaries and members of the political authority, all in one single day at the same venue.
Minister Karunatilleke said the Gampaha district, encompassing 1,177 Grama Niladhari divisions, had a 2.3 million population.Although the population rapidly increased, the extent of land available did not increase. As such, available land needs to be used in a pragmatic and fruitful manner for agriculture and plantation as well as residential use.
Marsh as well as forest land should be properly managed to ensure sustainable development and attain successful land use.The fully equipped office building opened would make a great contribution in this regard.The minister said the office could also provide guidance to people on proper land use by conducting a model home garden and model forest cultivation on its grounds. This would help boost the governments policy of increasing the forest cover from 29 percent to 32 percent of the land area.
He said the Cabinet approval was received to amend the old and obsolete land use policy formulated in 2007 in keeping with modern trends and needs.After receiving the Cabinet approval, they are now planning to promote sustainable development in collaboration with other government departments and institutions.Minister Karunatilleke said the distribution of land title deeds would also be accelerated in the Gampaha district under the government's one million land title deeds distribution programme.Accordingly, 1,200 title deeds would be granted by October in the Gampaha district.
He said the Land Commissioner General's Department is taking steps to regularise the 1,280 irregular land title deeds given to the people in Rajapaksapura in Katana. A large extent of land in Attanagalla would also be allocated for the Housing Ministry's housing project to resolve the housing problem of people in the area.