Welgama vows to take back misappropriated railway lands

By Don Asoka Wijewardena

Transport Minister Kumara Welgama on Monday said that if the British rulers had not enacted a law prohibiting the disposing of lands owned by the Sri Lankan Railways (SLR), a few money-hungry politicians would have sold all railway lands.

Today, some lands owned by the SLR had been encroached by some people. They had built large business organizations on SLR properties by force. The owners of such business enterprises were under the impression that they would be able to own those lands forever. But, they would never get the ownership of such lands, he vowed

He pointed out that the British rulers had never transferred the ownership of SLR lands to anyone. "What has happened is that many provincial councils and the urban councils are levying taxes by renting out SLR lands to businessmen. This is a sorry state of affairs," Minister Welgama stressed.

Almost all successive governments had been treating their favourites in different ways. The principal prey of some politicians was the SLR lands. But, that situation was no longer in practice. He was trying his best to take back all lands taken over by some businessmen. Some were creating many problems to stop the requisition process of the lands, but whatever the consequences the SLR would take back the lands soon, Minister Welagama said.

Minister Welgama added that President Mahinda Rajapaksa was a man of high principles. He loved the ordinary people. He came into power with their blessings and he never failed to remember them though he was at the pinnacle of power.

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