Move to release Valikamam North lands to owners
Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Hindu Religious Affairs Minister
D.M. Swaminathan said that the Government will release the hundreds of
acres of land which were occupied by the Security Forces in the
Valikamam North High Security Zone (HSZ).
He told a media conference on Friday morning that the UK government
and other international agencies, including the UNHCR and the EU have
assured support in resettling and rehabilitating displaced people when
the lands are returned.
The media briefing followed his meeting with visiting UK Minister of
State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Hugo Swire who was
accompanied by the UK High Commissioner in Colombo John Rankin.
While lauding the Security Forcesí tremendous work for the welfare of
the civilian population and their contribution to rehabilitate hundreds
of thousands of displaced people since the war ended in May 2009, the
Minister said that the lands used only for non-military purposes, such
as entertainment, golf links and hotel projects are needed to
rehabilitate the displaced people who are still in welfare centres.
Steps will also be taken to retrieve about 700 acres of the 1,600
acres earmarked for the Sampur Coal Power project and another BOI
project in Trincomalee as the latter project will not be set up, the
Minister said, adding that those displaced under the projects will be
The Minister said that the Government will also release over 800
Tamil political prisoners languishing in jails for several years and he
had discussed the matter with Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapaksa. The
Justice Minister is confident that a number of prisoners could be
released immediately and has appointed a three-member committee, headed
by Additional Solicitor General Fernando, to submit a report within 10
No sooner the report is released it would be possible as to how many
prisoners could be released immediately and how soon the others could be
released, the Minister said.