2ND LEAD (Adds details)

Swaminathan's secretary admits SL military delaying release of lands

[TamilNet, Friday, 08 May 2015, 23:07 GMT]
The Sri Lankan government, which recently released some pockets of lands in the occupied Valikaamam North, has come up with a ‘new excuse’ for the delay in releasing the lands back to the people at a meeting held at Jaffna District Secretariat on Friday. Ranjini Nadarasapillai, the secretary of UNP's appointed parliamentarian and SL Minister of Resettlement, Reconstruction and Hindu Affairs, D.M. Swaminathan, has admitted that a scheduled announcement of releasing more lands has been delayed, as the SL military commanders were yet to utilise her ministry with the list of new slots, civil officers who attended the meeting told TamilNet. The ITAK Leader and TNA parliamentarian Mavai Senathiraja, who hails from Valikaamam North, was disappointed with the progress.

Mr Senathiraja complained that he has now been forced to take up the matter with SL President Maithiripala Sirisena and with Chandrika Kumaratunga Bandaranaike, who has taken the political responsibility of coordinating the release of the lands.

The occupying SL military has blocked the access routes to the resettling people in Vasaavi'laan East. SL military is still holding the schools, churches and access routes. The resettling people have complained about SL military holding back plots of lands even within the pockets of lands that have been ‘released’ so far, Mr Maavai has told the SL Government Agent of Jaffna and to the secretary of SL Minister for Resettlement.

In the meantime, the resettled people at Vasaavi'laan were agitating on Friday against the SL military, which was attempting to open an alternative route across the pocket of lands that have been released in 2011 to link Thoalakaddi to Vasaavi'laan MMV. This is a sinister move to permanently cut off the coastal areas currently occupied by the SL military from the resettling people, civil sources in Valikaamam North told TamilNet.

SL military road
SL military is trying to create an alternative route through the private lands of the resettling people to link Thoalakaddi in Vasaavi'laan East with Vasaavi'laan MMV on Palaali Road. The move aims to permanently retain the part of the Araali-Valvai Road that runs through Vasaavi'laan Junction to Thellippazhai Junction, choking off the coastal area from the people of Valikaamam North.


The resettled people in Vasaavi'laan East were already blocked from accessing the road connecting Vasaavi'laan and Achchuveali as publicly witnessed by the Chief Minister of Northern Provincial Council, Justice C.V. Wigneswaran.

The SL military has been reluctant to allow the people to use Palaali Road within the former ‘High Security Zone’ area, which it tries to convert into a ‘Sinhala Military Zone’.

The protesting landowners have temporarily managed to stop the soldiers, who came with heavy machinery in their attempt to create a new route connecting Palaali Road and Vallai - Araali Road.

SL military road
When the matter was taken up for discussion at the meeting held in the Jaffna District Secretariat, the Sri Lankan Government Agent in Jaffna, Mr Vethanathan, urged the SL military officers, who were present at the meeting, to consider releasing another area of 27 acres in Vasaavi'laan East in order to create another alternative route. This too, was an attempt to allow the SL military to retain the Palaali Road beyond Vasaavi'laan MMV, the civil sources further said.

Meanwhile, Mr Kathirgamathamby Kurunathan, the retired Land Commissioner of the Eastern Province, in an exclusive interview to TamilNet earlier this week stated that the SL government should revoke the earlier Gazette notification in order to ensure the legal ownership of lands that are being released back to the uprooted people in Valikaamam North.

Allowing the people to resettle in their lands is not enough, as the Sri Lankan State has already appropriated these lands by applying the clauses of the Land Acquisition Act, Mr Kurunathan, who was the last Deputy Land Commissioner of the merged North-Eastern Province, said.



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