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Sunday, 23 August 2015

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Return of lands in Sampur :

President: 'No chance for a war to recur'

Distributing land deeds to war-displaced families, President Maithripala Sirisena told a gathering in Sampur yesterday that the government "will work to develop the country avoiding every possible chance for a war to recur."

In his first major official fixture since the August 17 election victory of the United National Front (UNF) for Good Governance, President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday distributed land deeds and relief assistance to families displaced from the controversial Sampur Industrial Zone. Yesterday's ceremony was an initial step to mark the resettlement program for all the displaced families.

Speaking on the occasion, President Sirisena said the government would take every step to ensure that the Eastern people enjoyed all rights and privileges enjoyed by their fellow citizens of the South and that rehabilitation programs will be completed with assistance from the international community.

The President said the government would expedite the resettlement program fulfilling the basic infrastructure needs in the area without delay.

Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga was also present along with Eastern Province Governor Austin Fernando, Eastern Province Chief Minister Nazeer Ahamed, Tamil National Alliance leader R. Sampanthan, Parliamentarians Rauf Hakeem, M.K.D.S. Gunawardana, Eastern Provincial Council Education Minister S.Thandayuthapani, Trincomalee District Secretary N.A.A. Pushpakumara and senior government officials.

Former President Kumaratunga said it was the Government's responsibility to take the lead in creating a country for the people to live in peace and harmony.

Praising the government's concern for the grievances of these displaced people in Tricomalee, R. Sampanthan said that Tamil people want to live as equal citizens but not as a minority.

President Sirisena and former President Kumaratunga symbolically presented deeds to 25 families.

Under the first phase, 234 families will receive deeds. Over 800 acres of land will be released from the Sampur High Security Zone resettling 825 families.

On May 6, President Sirisena signed the Gazette notification releasing the lands from the Sampur High Security zone which was earlier allocated to the Board of Investment.

Sri Lanka Navy released a 40-acre block of land within the High Security Zone and the relevant documents were presented to the Trincomalee District Secretary Nisssanka Pushpakumara.

President Sirisena also visited displaced people in several other areas in Trincomalee to observe rehabilitation programs under implementation.

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