Arugam Bay Land Grab

Outrage at Arugam Bay

The Government of Sri Lanka has imposed a rule in Sri Lanka that no – one can rebuild homes within in a certain distance of the sea, beach. Sometimes rumour was that the distance was 100 meters other times the distance was to be 200 meters.

This has meant that nearly six months on people are still living in refugee camps. They are getting desperate to move back home. Home for many is on/near the beach because they are fishing people. However, in Arugam Bay they have other plans!
Current situation specific to Arugam Bay

On May 17th there was a meeting for Arugam Bay representatives. Participating were the Tourist Board Chairman Mr Udaya Nanayakkara with collegues, Harshna Navarante Sewelanka Foundation Chairman and colleagues. Plus representatives from the Fisheries, Tourism,Surfing, Women. They were seeking further insight as to the plans of the tourist board for the region.

This is a summary of the response from the Chairman of the Tourist Board as described in the minutes of the meeting. Brackets are my comments otherwise the points below are copied from the minutes of the meeting.

  1. I do not have any record of your tourism businesses. Legally you cannot prove that you had a tourism business because you are not registered with the boardA?a??A?
    (Even The Stardust is not considered legal even tough Per bought the land, the Stardust will be pulled down)
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  2. We are only providing support for the registered, licensed people under our scheme
  3. If you build any illegal structures the army and the police will come and remove them
  4. I will show you a plan of that was prepared by the tourism board. There is a red line to indicate the land that has been acquired by the tourism board
    (There has been no consultation with the local people on this)
  5. Tourism should not just benefit the Colombo-based big business ownersA?a??A?


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