Army to return 650 acres of land in North to original owners

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – As a “New Year Gift” to the people in the North, the Army is releasing 650 acres of privately owned lands in the High Security Zone (HSZ), including lands in Palali in the Valikamam North Divisional Secretariat Division in Jaffna. The lands had been occupied by the security forces since 1990. The 20 km road leading from Point Pedro to Kankesanthurai (KKS), along the coastal area will also be opened to the public from April 16 from 6.00 AM to 6.00 PM.

This followed several rounds of talks between high ranking military officials in Jaffna and district secretariat officials and officials of the Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Hindu Religious Affairs Ministry.Rehabilitation, Reconst-ruction and Hindu Religious Affairs Minister D.M. Swaminathan said the military was releasing the lands as a goodwill gesture.

The military had come to an understanding to meet the needs of the people who had lost their lands in the North, the minister said. Since 1990, 27,000 acres of private lands had been occupied by the military as the war intensified. However, with the end of the war in 2009, the Government took the initiative to return such occupied private lands to their original owners.

Jaffna Security Forces Commander Major General Darshana Hettiarachchi told that on April 16, 650 acres of land in and around the Palali main military complex, including land in Vasavilan and Palali North, would be released to their original owners. He said the military was demarcating these areas and also readjusting its Forward Defence Lines.

Meanwhile, the military has also asked the Rehabilitation Ministry for Rs. 880 million to relocate its military installations in the north and east.

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