There are reports that preparations are being made to sell Galle Fort, a world heritage site. The initial moves to sell the site are being executed by Galle Heritage Foundation that is under a very close associate of Minister Sagala Ratnayaka, who is a close associate of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
An initial discussion regarding this had been held in Galle Fort on 24th June 2018 headed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. At this discussion, it has been decided to remove all state institutions that are in the Fort are and to develop the land on the pretext of conservation and use it for ‘productive economic measures.
Although the implementation of the project should be handed over to the Department of Archeology, which is the competent authority for archaeology in the country, it has been handed over to Galle Heritage Foundation Chairman Channa Daswatte, who is a very close associate of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Already, Galle Heritage Foundation has sent letters to state institutions including the archaeological institutions asking them to leave the area. Among the institutions that have been asked to vacate the site is Maritime Archaeology Unit (MAU) of Central Cultural Fund (CCF) established in Galle.
What is being implemented with the mediation of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is a scheme to sell lands that are in Galle Fort on the pretext of developing the tourist industry. This is why even an archaeological unit that owns the land has been asked to vacate the site.