Officials delayed sending quit notices: Minister | Daily News

Misuse of Railway Department lands:

Officials delayed sending quit notices: Minister

The law should be applied to the letter against persons involved in the illegal use of Railway Department lands, Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said.

Certain railway officials deliberately delayed the sending of quit notices to individuals misusing railway lands, he said, adding that it was better for such officers involved in dereliction of duty to stay at home without reporting to work.

The minister was addressing a progress review meeting of the Railway Department held at the Transport Ministry auditorium in Battaramulla, on Tuesday. Minister Ranatunga said he would request officers afraid of singing these quit notices to bring them to him so that he could sign them on their behalf.

He said that some people who leased railway lands were earning vast sums of money by subletting them to others. This could be described as a mafia ring involving even certain railway officials. He said Railway Lands Unit officials should render an honest service and assist him to run the Railway Department as a self-sustained enterprise. The minister said that the Railway Department had suffered revenue losses from several fronts—and that one such aspect was the revenue due from its lands.

The extent of land owned by the department at present is 14,129 acres and of this, 8,756 acres have been occupied by railway stations, tracks, yards, and offices, leaving out 5364 acres. And of this, only 10 percent, or 536 acres, has been rented out, he added. A sum of 14.6178 billion was due as rent from this 10 percent and steps were being taken to obtain this revenue after recording them. Earlier, a single section of the department handled the renting out of lands and the collection of revenue from them, the minister said.

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