Saturday, 15 June 2019 08:09

Sri Lanka Land Bank faces tough challenges in computerization

Sri Lanka’s ambitious ‘Land Bank’ project aimed at improving access to private and state land while ensuring effective land management is now facing with tough challenges in computerisation of the information, Land Ministry officials claimed.

Computerisation of the information on the lands presently available in written documents and inclusion the same in the land information system is not up to the expectation at present, a senior official of the ministry who wished to remain anonymous told the Business Time.

US Millennium Challenge Corporation recently signed a compact with Sri Lanka to provide US $ 67.3 million in addition to state funding for improvement of access to private and state land/

This US funding will also be used to provide more uniform valuation of land, and assist the Government in improving the land policy and governance framework under which land is managed and administered.

It had been expected to identify the title of the state lands as well as the use of unplanned lands and the uneconomical use of land under the project.

Parliament has made provisions of Rs.195 million and Rs.395 million in the year 2016 and 2017 respectively for the land bank project.

Out of the provisions made in the year 2017, a sum of Rs.116 million or 29 per cent had been utilized.

According to the Action Plan relating to this project, it had been planned to implement programmes for the scanning of extracts of 22 Land Registries (E-Land Registry), development of data base for the Land Acquisition Division, introduction of the State Land Information Management System (E-Slim) and establishment of Land Information Centre (E-Land Hub).

Due to disagreements among top officials and politicians and tough choices in identifying land parcels and tender procedure to select qualified bidders for IT procurements had made it impossible possible to achieve the objectives expected from project, latest Auditor General’s report revealed.

Since computerization of the data· had not been properly carried out during the year under review, it had not been possible to scan the extracts of 7 offices as planned and the software of 06 offices that remained in a feasible level to maintain office activities had not been updated, the audit query unearthed.

A database had not been developed· for the Land Acquisition Division, AG’s reort pointed out adding that the Land Settlement Department· and the Land Use Policy Planning Department had not developed computer systems under the E-Land Hub programme.

Development of software only had been done by the Department of Policy Planning. Bimsaviya Programme.

According to the Action Plan of the year 2017, although the number of Title Certificates targeted to be issued during the year under review stood at 48,000, the number of Title Certificates registered stood at 48,240.

Nevertheless, 20,151 certificates or 42 per cent of the registered certificates had been issued to the people.

Although the Bimsaviya Programme had been implemented in 3,695 Grama Niladharee Divisions under 57 Divisional Secretariats by 31 December 2017, surveys had been completed only in 1,374 or 37 per cent of Grama Niladharee Divisions of which the surveys should have been completed, the audit inspection revealed.

The State Land Information Management System had been implemented in 332 Divisional Secretariat Divisions and data of 920,141 land parcels had been computerised under the e-Slims project.

Even though entering information on 300,000 land parcels had been expected according to the Action Plan for the year 2017, only information on 231,021 land parcels or 77 per cent of the expected target had been computerised.

(LI)

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