The Sri Lankan government, headed by President Maithripala Sirisena, has taken what is described as a “historic decision” to give each of the 200,000 families of Indian Origin Tamil workers in the island’s plantations, seven “perches” or 1,900 sq ft of land with ownership documents.“It is a historic decision as this is for the first time in the 200-year history of the
Indian Origin Tamil plantation workers in Lanka, that they will be getting land with ownership rights and proper documents,” said Karuppaiah Velayudam, Minister of State for Plantation Industries.
“Houses, each of 550 sq ft, will also be built for them. Each house is expected to cost LKR 1.2 million,” the Minister told the media here on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will hand over ownership documents to 1,000 families at a function at Bandarawela in Badulla district on April 25.
“Previously, the workers had no title to the patches of land on which they cultivated vegetables or on which their cramped line rooms were built. Many previous governments had promised land with titles but never kept it,“ Velayudam said.
For the sake of gender equality, the title deeds will be in the name of the husband and wife, he added.
In course of time, the government plans to give all 200,000 families land and houses. The next district to be covered will be Nuwara Eliya, which has the largest number of Indian Origin Tamil estate workers.
So far, 20,000 houses have been built for the plantation workers but these do not give rights over the land on which they are built, the Minister pointed out.
The government of India has promised to build 4,500 houses for the plantation workers, but a request has been made for a total of 20,000 houses, he said.(New Indian Express)