Sunday, June 5, 2016

On World Environment Day – a Policy that will immediately stop encroachment on Forest Reserves is needed

Politicians have either broken rules or permitted changes over the past 70 years that have irretrievably harmed the Environment in Sri Lanka. It is therefore their responsibility now to reverse some of this damage, and I will concentrate here on the use of land in Rural Areas.

NO POLITICIAN realizes that many of the homes in rural areas are hardly occupied, and there is very little chance due to the state not having given TITLE, for the owners of the licenses to live there, to be able to sell freely. The level of under occupancy is staggering in Sri Lanka, where there is NO CENSUS OF THIS YET. I personally know a large number of "mahagederas", that are crumbling for want of people to live there, as they have all left to cities and overseas, many permanent migrants. As is normal the politicians have their heads buried in the sand, and if they BAN encroachment on state land or give state land, it will increase the value of the remaining homes, making it more attractive to sell, and moving to places with jobs.

SO WHAT IS HAPPENEING NOW? THE GOVT. IS IN THE PROCESS OF GIVING MORE LAND IN EACH OF 14,000 GRAMA NILADARI DIVISIONS, approximately 5 homes each, for a total of 70,000 blocks of land to the homeless to build their homes. Now I am told that all those on Landslide areas will also be given 40 perches to build their homes.

This love affair with the land has to be stopped, as we need a mobile population, NOT AN IMMOBILE one, as the most important and urgent policy, if we are to move people to where the jobs are. There are 250,000 job vacancies with NO ONE to do them. It is because many of the jobs are in places different to where people live.

So why is the Govt. continuing to give land for homes, in places where there is NO WORK? It is the most foolish policy that our foolish lawmakers who have never worked a day in their lives, continue to make for POLITICAL expedience.

I have mentioned earlier, that this is the most opportune moment, where people have to be rehoused due to flooding, that we build multifamily homes in cities where there is employment  and give people the option of buying there.

The CATCH 22 at the moment is, those in rural areas, cannot sell their homes, so they can raise some cash to buy a property near a city where they can find work. They leave their homes in rural areas, and move to the city and live MISERABLY sometimes rented, sometimes in slum conditions due to this foolish policy, and often the husband lives in a boarding house without family.

So I would recommend to the Govt. that they first buy those homes already built OF THOSE WHO WISH TO SELL, for a reasonable price, so the money can be used to buy a home in a suburb. These homes if need be can be sold on a long-term lease to the people who are landless, and provide a seamless transition.


Anonymous said...

Sri Lanka is the only Country in the world that is still giving forest land to build homes in rural areas, where there are NO jobs and excess homes, due to population shift towards the Western Province where jobs are plentiful. That is why a sea change in the types who get elected is needed. The current crop are detrimental to the future survival of Sri Lanka.


Anonymous said...

Factories are closing down in the Western Province, as there is NO labor. The shortage of machine operators is in all factories. Yet we are not building low cost housing to encourage labor mobility, as we are still giving free land to people in rural areas, and so people prefer anything free, even a jobless place, and don't move!

Stop giving land free to anyone. There is NO incentive for people to work to buy a home. See how the people who got free homes after Tsunami, have rented them out to these migrants and returned to their old haunts!

It simply does not cultivate a work ethic.

Anonymous said...

It is a shame that the Govt. on this world environment day, does not admit that they are most at fault in ruining the Sri Lanka Environment by their actions.

They have NOT acted in the best interests of the Country, which they pretend to serve. Until we the public accept that and force change nothing will come from those, who are elected by us. We should change the formula of who we elect.

How about only one term in Parliament for all. You can be sure ONLY qualified people will come forward for 5 years,to serve their motherland with leave from their professions, and will not want a duty free permit either. Now they get one every 5 years and at what cost, to the same jokers.

Anonymous said...

As most non Western Province land is either State or plantation company land leased by the State. The Govt. is in a unique position in being able to increase the forest buffer zones NOT decrease them, in a conscious effort at reforestation. We must stop encroaching onto this land and reverse all encroachments in the past 10 years, by offering alternative property existing within villages, by purchasing if necessary, or by offering homes in multifamily occupancy in cities. A massive tree planting drive should also accompany this policy on these lands. Gradually the Human Elephant Conflict also will reduce.

This is also made easier, due to the drop in farmers, and the need for land consolidation to make agriculture more productive by permitting larger tracts to be farmed. Small tracts ARE NOT profitable and are forcing farming families to be permanently on the bread line. This is made easier by fewer youth going into farming.

Sad that the Govt. is NOT in tune with the natural flow of labor, and are trying to social engineer in the reverse direction. Typical of imbeciles in decision making roles.

Anonymous said...

Why are we clearing forests, when half the arable land in Sri Lanka is NOT used in food production. If you travel in the island you will see it everywhere. There is NO efficient way of working the land, and there is NO labor, or their costs are too high to work the land anymore. So with proper title of ownership, guaranteed, owners will be able to rent their land for development with NO fear of losing it to people who work the land.

Then the owners will be guaranteed title, and rent, and renters can use the land productively. Today there is NO CHANCE FOR EITHER, so the land lies fallow. The owners don't get a return, and people who want to farm in efficient scale, have NO Land to do so.

I am sure 225 dogs in parliament will be able to think of a better way to develop Sri Lanka.

Anonymous said...

This govt. promised free hold title to all who have lived in their land for 10 years or more. DO it soon, so that they can sell their property and move out where they can find work, and someone can buy if he or she wants to live in the village, even second homes for that matter, releasing capital to the seller to use it more productively.

No one should get free land to build homes on.

Anonymous said...

Search on for alternative land to resettle. Looks like terra ferma to me. Doubtful if it is the right decision though! Choices must be offered, with sweetners to move people to where the jobs are. There is just no jobs in the Kegalle District that the people displaced want to do.