Thiriyai prepares for resettlement amid navy harassment

[TamilNet, Thursday, 06 March 2003, 00:30 GMT]
As the first paddy harvest after nearly twenty years is nearing completion at Thiriyai, the displaced Tamil families who returned from Vanni and residing currently in welfare camps at Nilaveli pleaded Tuesday at a mobile service held in Thiriyai, that authorities should make immediate arrangements to resettle them in their own lands, sources in Trincomalee said.

Thiriyai is a traditional Tamil village 42 km north of Trincomalee town. About five hundred displaced families are now ready for resettlement in the village, which was devastated by military operation of the government troops in the twenty-year-old war, a senior village leader said at the mobile service. About five hundred acres of paddy land were cultivated in the last Maha season, a villager said.

Thiriyai mobile service.
Displaced Thiriyai residents talking to officials.
Local Members of Parliament Mr.Sampanthan and Mr.Thurairatnesingham, LTTE district political leader Mr.S.Tilak and government and NECORD officials attended the mobile service at Thiriyai village to assist the displaced families to obtain their birth certificates, death certificates and land permits.

The MPs and the LTTE district political leader assured assembled Thiriyai residents that they would be making necessary arrangements to resettle the displaced families in their lands in Thiriyai very soon.

Most of the houses in Thiriyai village were destroyed in the war. Small number of houses that escaped damage are being occupied by the government troops. About one thousand and five hundred families lived in Thiriyai when the war broke out war. The village was under the SLN till middle of last year, the villager said.

The SLN has now relocated its detachment about one km away from the Thiriyai village proper. The SLN has established the new camp in more than seventy-five acres, which included the only civilian cemetery and lands that belonged to Tamil families, villagers said at the mobile service.

Several villagers complained that the harassment of the navy is on the increase. Another villager said some SLN personnel one day had removed several wooden poles he cut and kept in his land to construct a small cadjan in preparation to resettlement. In some other areas, the navy personnel removed tin sheets used as fence, villagers complained.

"I am a permanent resident of Thiriyai and am now displaced and staying at Nilaveli welfare centre. One day when I was going to Thiriyai, navy personnel stopped me and wanted me to produce title deed and other documents related to my land to prove the ownership of the land. The Navy is trying to block the displaced from resettling," another villager said.

Thiriyai mobile service.
LTTE Trincomalee district political leader Thilak speaking at the conclusion of the mobile service (L-R) Parliamentarian Mr.Sampanthan, NE Assistant Registrar General Mr.L.Rasiah, National list MP Mr.Thurairetnasingham
The Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO) representative has undertaken a project to construct houses for fifty displaced families. Work on about ten houses would commence immediately. Furthermore they would be taking steps to provide water facilities by restoring abandoned wells, a TRO official said.

NECORD official Mr. R.Umakanthan said his organization has undertaken to repair the Thiriyai school buildings enabling it to function from the beginning of second term. He added the NECORD had allocated funds for the construction of the central dispensary at Thiriyai village.

Heads of displaced families cultivated their paddy lands during Maha season at Thiriyai while their wives and children stayed at welfare centres and refugee camps at Nilaveli village. Bus services were conducted daily between Trincomalee and Thiriyai during the cultivation season, sources said.

The North East Assistant Registrar General Mr.L.Rasiah advised the displaced and distributed necessary forms to register unregistered births and to obtain death certificates.

Provincial Commissioner of Lands Ms. Thanuja Murugesan addressed complaints made by the displaced regarding their lands abandoned several years ago due to violence.

Thiriyai mobile service.
Displaced villagers attend mobile service and their paddy produce is being loaded in lorry.


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