Court ruling goes to MR for mediation

Wrangle over ownership
By L.B. Senaratne

The Governor of the Central Province Tikiri Kobbekaduwa has apprised President Mahinda Rajapakse of a vesting order made by the Gangawata Korale Divisional Secretary T. Bandara Tennakoon on a fifty perch land within the Sacred Area of Kandy.

The property covers the Old Dharmaraja College Building, the Bo-tree of the Natha Devale and the Viharege of Natha Devale.An acquisition order placed by the Kandy Divisional Secretary has required all persons living within the said area to vacate this premises and hand it over to him by 6th January 2012. The governor has pointed out the premises in fact came under the Sacred City Area Planning scheme and was gazetted by Gazette Extraordinary of 8th November 2001 by the Minister of Urban Development Authority amd Housing Mangala Samaraweera..

The Chief Incumbent, Ven. Gomagoda Rathanasara Thera -also a member of the Karaka Sangha Sabha of Asgiriya Chapter of the Natha Devale Pansala- told the Sunday Times that under the order placed by the Divsional Secretary, the entire 50 perches falls within the sacred area of Natha Devale and that it would hinder devotees on poya days, at national pageants of the Kandy Esala Perahera as well as at various rites and ceremonies honouring God Natha.

It is learnt that the Divisional Secretary made the order following a court ruling. However it has been pointed out that the relevant gazette notification regarding the status of the area had not been presented by the parties concerned.

The Thera said whoever placed the order regarding the status of the property within the Sacred City had done so without seeing the Gazette notification of 8th November 2001. He added the sole authority in the Sacred City scheme was the Director General of Buddhist Affairs.

The ' old ' Dharmaraja Building once housed the primary section of the College and with the schools take-over, the building became government property. Subsequently, it was learn’t the Education Department paid a rent to Natha Devale to continue using the premises for the school.

But once the area been declared a Sacred Area, the school was shifted to its present site at the College premises.

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