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Sri Lanka (2019)

Land Acquisition Act No. 9 of 1950


The Land Acquisition Act (LAA) of 1950 as amended in 1986 provides for the acquisition of private land and servitudes for public purposes. It provides the payment of compensation at market rates for lands, structures and crops. The LAA gives directives for the acquisition of land in the public interest and provides benefits to both titleholders and non-titleholders. 


Land Acquisition process under LAA no. 9 of 1950

  1. Conduct land investigation - PIU

  2. Prepare application for acquisition of land for a public purpose on behalf of the Secretary of line ministry with details of land extent, current situation, boundaries, names and addresses of landowners and claimants estimated costs and source of payment (Form GAL 29) - PIU 

  3. Apply to the secretary, Ministry of Land - Secretary, MHRD

  4. Apply with his/her recommendation to the Minister, MOL - Secretary, MHRD

  5. Authorisation for acquisition of land under Section 2 of LAA - Minister, MOL

  6. Produce Section 2 Notice to the acquiring officer indicating the intention of acquisition - MOL

  7. Exhibit Section 2 Notice in Sinhala, English and Tamil languages in the project area and send copies to claimants - DS 

  8. Request District Superintendent of Survey to prepare Advance Tracing - DS

  9. Survey the land and prepare the Advance Tracing - Superintendent of Surveys

  10. Produce Section 5 Notice to proceed with the acquisition - Minister, MOL

  11. Exhibit Section 5 Notice in Sinhala, English and Tamil languages in the project area - DS

  12. Request Superintendent of Surveys to prepare a ‘preliminary plan’ under Section 6 - D

  13. Survey the land, prepare the preliminary plan and submit to the acquiring officer and MOL - Superintendent of Surveys

  14. Issue the notice land acquisition under Section 7 in Sinhala, English and Tamil in the Government Gazette, exhibit the Notice in the project area and send copies to MOL and call for submission of claims by interested parties/claimants - DS

  15. Conduct inquiries under Section 9 to determine the ownership rights of the land and the compensation payable - DS

  16. Issue the notice of ownership status of the land under Section 10(1)(a) - DS

  17. Request Chief Valuer to determine the documentation for the property to be acquired - DS

  18. Conduct the valuation of the land and other properties - Valuation Dept

  19. Send the valuation report to the acquiring officer - Valuation Dept

  20. Issue the Section 17 award letter indicating the eligible compensation to APs - DS

  21. Apply for a Gazetted Ministerial order to take possession of the land - Secretary, MHRD

  22. Provide a Ministerial order in Gazette to take possession of the land - MOL

  23. Take over the possession of the land on behalf of State under Section 38 - DS

  24. Vesting the possession of the property with the applicant organisation by way of a certificate under Section 44 which constitutes a legal title for the land - DS


Land Acquisition Regulations of 2008 issued under Section 63 (2) (f) of LAA 1950 and came into effect on 17 March 2009 incorporate provisions for statutory payments for compensation. It provides provisions for compensation beyond ‘market value’ by incorporating: compensate for injurious affection and severance (equivalent to the full cost of damage based on the market value of the land acquired), disturbances (in terms of Section 3.11, principle based on the ‘value to owner’ of the property affected as per the written claims submitted by the AP: Gazette notification No 1596/12 of 7.4.2009), reconstruction costs calculated without depreciation, valuation of the affected plot of land at proportional unit cost, together with compensation for business losses and relocation. 


National Involuntary Resettlement Policy 2001

The National Involuntary Resettlement Policy (NIRP) 2001 represents a significant milestone in the development of a systematic approach to addressing resettlement issues in Sri Lanka. The Policy thus ensures that i) project affected persons are adequately compensated, relocated and rehabilitated, ii) delays in project implementation and cost overruns are reduced and iii) better community relations are restored. It aims at ensuring that people affected by development projects are treated in a fair and equitable manner and ensuring that they are not impoverished in the process. The Policy also enables establishing the framework for project planning and implementation that would meet international best practices in involuntary resettlement. The responsibility of reviewing and approving RAPs is vested in the Ministry of Land and Land Development. 


The main principles of NIRP are as follows:

  • Avoid, minimise and mitigate negative involuntary resettlement impacts by reviewing alternatives to the project

  • Ensure that the APs are fully and promptly compensated and successfully resettled, their livelihoods are re-established and their standard of living is improved

  • Assist the APs in dealing with psychological, cultural, social and other impacts caused by compulsory land acquisition and resettlement

  • A commitment to gender equality and equity

  • Affected persons should be fully involved in the selection of relocation sites, livelihood compensation and development options at the earliest opportunity 

  • Establish an accessible grievance redress mechanism in each development project

  • Resettlement should be planned and implemented with the full participation of the provincial and local authorities

  • Participatory measures should be designed and implemented to assist those economically and socially affected to be integrated into the host communities

  • Resettlement should be planned as a development activity for the affected persons

  • Affected persons who do not have title deeds to land should receive fair and just treatment

  • Vulnerable groups should be identified and given appropriate assistance to improve their living standards

  • Project executing agencies should bear the full cost of compensation and resettlement 

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