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DateLine Tuesday, 11 November 2008

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SC grants UDA two weeks to file proposed master plan

The Supreme Court yesterday granted Urban Development Authority (UDA) two weeks time to file the proposed master plan that would make use of the Waters Edge land for locating Government agencies as a means of decentralization of the Colombo City.

The proposed master plan was in line with the Supreme Court judgment in the Waters Edge Fundamental rights application against the alienation of the UDA lands for the construction of the private resort and golf course.

Counsel Nihal Jayawardane for the UDA informed the court that the deed alienating the land to the Asia Pacific Golf Course Ltd. had been cancelled in terms of the court order. He also submitted that the UDA had asked the Asia Pacific to return the original deed to the UDA.

The Court also directed the Attorney General to obtain the details of the employees of the Waters Edge in order to address their grievances. Counsel Uditha Egalahewa for the employees submitted that some 560 employees of the resort would lose employment once it stopped operations and further submitted that it was hard to find employment else where due to the current status of the hotel industry.

Earlier the Court annulling the Waters Edge transaction in its entirety in last October had ordered the 225 acres of land to be reverted to the Urban Development Authority within one month.

Also the UDA was ordered to pay back the cost of construction as at the time of the construction as per the valuation of the Chief Valuer of the Government Valuation Department. According to the order the Asia Pacific Golf Course Ltd. is permitted to remove movable property and the vacant possession free of any encumbrance to be handed over to the UDA in four months before February 08.

Petitioners Sugathapala Mendis of Panadura and Raja Melroy Belassius Senanayake complained to the court that the 225 acres of land in Battaramulla which had been acquired by the UDA for public purpose were alienated to Asia Pacific Golf Course Ltd. to construct a Golf Course which levy Rs. 250, 000 for a member and a resort that were not beneficial to the general public in violation of their rights as well as the rights of the people of the country. J.C. Weliamuna appeared for the petitioner.

 

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