Agrarian Tribunals to settle Anda govi grievances

By Franklin R.Satyapalan

The Government has decided to set up Agrarian Tribunals, on a district basis, to hear over 4,500 complaints from farmers. The majority of these complaints have come from tenant farmers (Anda goviyo)in the Ratnapura district said Commissioner General of Agrarian Services Development Ravindra Hewavitharna on Monday.

Agrarian Services sources said that following representations made to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, by tenant farmers over the years, on injustices meted out to them by landlords, he had directed Minister of Wild Life and Agrarian Services S. M. Chandrasena to submit the necessary amendments to the Agrarian Development Act to deal with the farmers’ problems.

As a result the Agrarian Development Amendment Bill (No. 46 of 2011) was passed in Parliament.

Hewavitharna said that he awaited the certified copy of the Bill from Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa to set up the Agrarian Tribunals.

According to the new legislation the tenant farmers have the right to hand over the land to their spouses or children after them. According to the amended act an Agrarian Tribunal comprises only one person. Earlier it had three persons.

He said that retired Judges and senior staff officers attached to the Agrarian Services Development would be recruited to hear these cases. The Agrarian Tribunals would be set up in all 25 districts including Colombo, Kalutara and Gampaha, where there were a large number of tenant farmers.

He said that there were a large number of tenant farmers in the island including in Jaffna, Hambantota, Kurunegala districts.

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