[TamilNet, Sunday, 16 April 2017, 23:29 GMT]
A section of officials attached to Jaffna District Secretariat and the Divisional Secretariat of Thellip-pazhai, have deceived around 114 families of uprooted Tamils living in the so-called welfare centers to opt for buying alternative lands elsewhere in Jaffna. The officials, operating under ‘ministerial instruction’ from Colombo to collaborate with the designs of the occupying SL military at Palaali in Jaffna, have been locking some of these families telling them that they would ultimately receive their lands in Valikaamam North in future, but until that time comes, they should move out of the welfare camps into lands they purchase with the money offered by SL Resettlement Ministry as a ‘temporary’ measure.
Although the landowners of welfare camps are demanding their lands back and there are cases pending in the courts with deadlines in June, August and September this year to close down some of the 34 camps in Jaffna, the SL military and collaborating civil officials are trying to use the opportunity to lock the families to opt for lands outside Valikaamam North.
The civil officials have told the families that they would receive funds to the extent of 200,000 rupees per acre with the maximum allocation of upto 2 acres per family. The family has to locate lands.
Only 6 of 114 families have managed to find lands at the rate of 200,000 rupees per acre.
Since the allocation is below the average price, the families have been forced to find such alternative lands at remote areas without infrastructure facilities.
The families were further told that if they buy the lands quickly, they would be eligible for ‘fitting’ houses under the scheme being run by the SL Resettlement Ministry.
The provincial government authorities or the representatives of the uprooted people have no say in the design of the solutions.
In reality, this is a military tactic to make the people to consider alternative solutions as permanent solutions, informed sources at the District Secretariat said.
While a section of the officials attached to the District Secretariat in Jaffna hoodwinks the uprooted Tamils, an official in Thelllippazhai Divisional Secretariat has transferred the lands belonging to private land owners inside the occupied Valikaamam North to the SL military demarcating the lands as ‘public lands’, says Shageevan Shanmugalingam, who represents the uprooted Tamils of Valikaamam North.
The deceptive plan was set afoot by former Jaffna commander of the SL military, Maj Gen Mahesh Senanayake, who is now the Chief of Staff of the SL Army.