Kuchchaveli Tourism Zone (KTZ) investors have written to President Mahinda Rajapaksa explaining their inability to meet the Rs. 20 million an acre upfront cash for a 99-year lease commitment, according to Treasury sources.
Earlier they were promised land for less than Rs 50,000 per acre for a 30-year lease through a bidding process. It is learnt that the President has instructed the Treasury to cut the price by half. The eastern region is being developed as a tourist destination, with an area of about 500 acres identified for tourism development in Kuchchaveli in the Trincomalee disrict.
But industry analysts say that the government, seeing the potential has become 'greedy' and wants 'big' names. "We were the first to plan tourism projects there - that too during the height of the war. At the time no so-called big names wanted to come, and now they want to bring them and deliberately eliminate us by slapping exorbitant prices isn't fair," a disappointed investor told the Business Times.
The land earmarked for projects bordering the beach is situated north of the popular Nilaveli beach and the Kuchchaveli resort is planned as a ‘Green Integrated Resort’, focusing on sustainable development.
At that time the Urban Development Authority (UDA) had begun to identify suitable locations for different categories of tourism facilities, such as hotels, guesthouses, conference facilities, and locations for recreational activities etc. “In addition, they said that the maximum number of rooms per acre will be limited and the footprint of any area to be built up shall not exceed 25% of the land,” the investor said.