2ND LEAD (Adds voice)
Resettling Champoor Tamils deceived, hundreds of acres seized for militarization
[TamilNet, Friday, 28 October 2016, 23:20 GMT]
SL President Maithiripala Sirisena has deceived uprooted Tamils of Champoor in Trincomalee by asking them to legally transfer lands to SL Navy to relocate its training base SLN Vidura while releasing lands for their resettlement in July 2015. The people were asked to allocate around 40 acres of lands. But, in practice around 300 acres of lands have been seized from them. At least 50 families were deceived this way and were told by even Tamil politicians to cooperate with the request of SL President in order to commence the resettlement of the uprooted Tamils in Champoor. The were told that proper substitute lands would be given to them at different locations within 6 months. Now, 15 months have gone, none of them were given such lands. The SL Navy has seized at least 250 acres more than what was claimed as its requirement, the uprooted Tamils say.
The area seized by the SL Navy consists of residential, agricultural and Cheana (Slash-and-burn) cultivation lands that the people had owned since the British times. The Chena cultivation lands were allocated during the times of SL Prime Minister Mrs Srimao Bandaranaike,” says Irasaiah Pathmanathan, one of the fifty families who have lost their lands.
SL Navy and SL Board of Investment seized lands from Tamils after the area was seized from the administration of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in 2006. The map shows the positions prior to 2015. SL Navy had to release more than 200 acres of lands back to the people, but seems to have seized more lands northwards seizing some residential lands and a lot of agricultural and Chenai-cultivation lands.
Eastern Naval Area’ as defined by the occupying SL Navy. There are 13 so-called ‘Commissioned Navy Bases’ in the Eastern Naval Area of the SL Navy [Image courtesy - navy.lk]
“I knew they had no lands to substitute the seizure. I didn't sign in the documents, but almost 50 families put their signatures in good faith. But, all of us have now lost our lands,” he says.
Mr Pathmathan was having 7 acres of agricultural lands at a locality known as Chu'ndikk-kuzhi in Champoor along with 3 acres of lands for peanut cultivation.
There was at least 200 acres of agricultural lands at Chu'ndik-kuzhi alone, he says.
Four big and five small reservoirs are located in the area that has been seized by the SL Navy.
Initially, people were told that the SL Navy would only be using 40 acres in Karuththeevuk-kaadu. But, they have now taken over agricultural lands extending to
There were pasturelands at Villuk-ku'lam area. “Now, we can't even think of taking our cattle to graze there.”
SLN Vidura camp was situated at 176 acres of lands earlier. Now, in the name of relocation, more lands have been fenced off as area belonging to SL Navy. The camp was relocated in March 2016.
“In the beginning they said the SL Navy would only need 40 acres of residential lands near the camp. But, now they have taken over our agricultural lands in Veddaich-cheanai and Villuk-ku'lam,” Mr Pathmathan told TamilNet.
The SLN Vidura base has been established in a large area comprising Kalladi, Eamaddavan, Karaith-theevu, Chaayakkaravaddavan, Chu'ndik-kuzhi, Neenaak-kea'ni, Moddai-malaiyadi and Ney-malaiyadi.
Tamil politicians and officials who convinced the people to legally transfer the lands to SL Navy have no answers to the landowners who are deprived of their property and livelihood. The transfer was proposed and carried out within three days, according to Mr Pathmanathan.
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