Potuville Point real-estate controversy

Potuvil Point pictured below from Google Earth, is located at the northern end of Sri LankaA?a??a??s famous Arugam bay.Potuvil Point - Google Earth close up facing South

Potuvil Point from Google Earth Facing North

This isolated surfing paradise is the centre of an expose on what appreas to be some shady real estate deals. The story has a familiar recipe of neo colonial symbolism – foreign nationals buying land from locals, accusations of corruption, and real-estate developed building resorts on pristine beaches in the third world. It is the sort of thing that can bring out the environmental activists into the streets.

The expose is written by Frederica Jansz (who has previously rattled a lot of people including the LTTE) and is currently listed as a contributor to Montage Lanka. The gist of the accusation is that two locally based British nationals have been selling land in Sri Lanka to overseas buyers at inflated prices – while evading Sri Lankan taxes and immigration laws.

You can read through the details on Glycomet online dictionary FredericaA?a??a??s article A?a??A?Land grabbing and the Sri Lanka GovernmentA?a??a??s silenceA?a??A?. The article was also carried by the The Sunday Leader newspaper on 20 March 2005 under the same title.

The first link to the article on this blog is to the text cached by Google. The article was originally hosted on culturalsurvivaltrust.org which is off line as I write (on June 2nd). The domain remains registered to A?a??A?Kataragama Research PublicationsA?a??A?. This organisation also owns quite a few other domains including livingheritage.org – most of them (I wasnA?a??a??t able to check each one) are off line as off 31 May – 2 June 2008. You might be able to access their content through Google cache until hopefully the web-site return.

Interestingly the late Manik Sandrasagra was involved with the Living Heritage trust that used the livingheritage.org domain. The fact that the website of an organisation concerned with sustainability and ecology carried the article seems to suggests that there were/are deeper concerns about the development.

Online, the whole issue seems to have quietened down after 2005. Perhaps everything was resolved. Or as with such things in Sri Lanka forgotten under other concerns.

The master plan for a tourism related development for Pottuvil Point is online. Interestingly both pottuvilpoint.com and Lankarealestate.com (the online face of the subject of FredericaA?a??a??s expose) are registered (whois search as of June 1 200 8) to the famous Clarinase price australia Dome apartment at Galle Face Court featured in Sri Lanka lifestyle/interior design articles and books. Turns out the location belongs to Giles Scott, one of the British Nationals named in Frederica JanszA?a??a??s article.

It certainly get murkier all right. If anyone knows better/up-to-date info, you know where the comment box is :)

The marginally more adventurous can explore Potuvil point via satellitesights.com


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