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