Image: Keppapilavu land struggle has been ongoing for nearly a year (credit: @garikaalan)
A 300-day protest staged by a group of persons demanding that the army vacate 133 acres at Keppapilavu in the former LTTE stronghold Mullaitivu had been brought to an end by relocating troops stationed there, Rehabilitation Ministry spokesperson has told The Island.
Rehabilitation Minister D. M. Swaminathan had, following consultations with relevant authorities, has paid Rs. 148 mn for the relocation of troops. The land would be officially handed over today (Dec 28).
TNA leader R. Sampanthan on several occasions requested the president Sirisena to release these land and met the protesting villagers as well.
According to the Rehabilitation Ministry, since the change of government in 2015, the armed forces had released altogether 37,427 acres in the Jaffna peninsula (3,660 acres), Killinochchi (24,174 acres), Mullaitivu (4,507 acres), Mannar (1,709 acres), Vavuniya (1,496 acres), Ampara (549 acres),Trincomalee (323 acres) and Batticaloa (1,005 acres), reports The Island.
(With the inputs from The Island.)
Mean while the Government news release says:
Army releases 133.34 acres of lands to civil land owners
Major General Dushyantha Rajaguru, Commander, Security Forces – Mullaittivu (SF-MLT) symbolically handed over relevant certificates of land clearance to B. Senthilnandan, Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Prison Reforms, Resettlement, Rehabilitation and Hindu Affairs and Ms R. Kethishwaran, District Secretary for Mullaittivu.
Sri Lanka Army troops as of 1st December 2017 have released a total of 55,510.58 acres of private and state land in Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaittivu, Mannar and Vavuniya in the northern province, in addition to the 133.34 acres released today in Keppapilavu.
At the time the Army acquired those lands, there were only 8 buildings and one foundation in the location which had remained unattended for years. However, the Army after renovating those buildings and constructing 20 more new permanent houses for those land-owners with their consent, released those 133.34 acres.
Out of the total of 133.34 acres released this morning (28), a portion of 111.05 acres in Keppapilavu were released to 68 land owners and the remaining 21.84 acres, belonging to 17 land owners in Seeniyamottai village area were also vested in them.
Sri Lanka Army commenced the gradual release of private property used by the Armed Forces after the conclusion of humanitarian operations in 2009. Land release in the Northern Province was expedited on the directions of the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant Mahesh Senanayake in line with the government’s policy of reconciliation and ethnic harmony.