Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has appointed a three-member committee to examine the fullest extent of land, currently under the custody of Security Forces in the High Security Zone (HSZ) in the Northern Province, that could be released to the legitimate owners, Resettlement Minister D.M. Swaminathan revealed.
Swaminathan said the committee comprises Resettlement Ministry Secretary, Ranjini Nadarajapillai, Secretary to the Ministry of Land and Land Development, Dr. I.H.K. Mahanama and Defence Secretary B.M.U.D. Basnayake.
Government has already announced the release of 1,000 acres of land in the Valikamam North High Security Zone, 400 acres of which will be initially given back to the people on 23 March.
“We have ordered the release of the 400 acres of the 1,000 acres since deeds relating to the other 600 acres are yet to be examined for authenticity by the committee. The committee will simultaneously examine the rest of the land apart from the 1,000 acres, since it is believed that more acres can be released for resettlement in Valikamam North,” Minister Swaminathan said.
Asked about the resettlement process in Valalai and clearing of the deserted areas, he said 236 acres of land had been released for resettlement in the area while large tracts were also been cleared to enable immediate resettlement.
Swaminathan added that a further 800 acres in Sampur would also be released shortly for resettlement where some extents vested in the Board of Investment (BOI) remain unutilized.
“There will be also a discussion in Trincomalee on 20 March with Eastern Province Governor Austin Fernando to expedite the release of 800 acres of land in Sampur,” he said.