By P. Sobika, M. Roshanth
The government was colonising people from other regions in the Northern Province, Chief Minister of the Northern Province C.V. Wigneswaran speaking at the NPC sittings at Kaithadi yesterday.
“Lands are divided into public and privately owned. In 1505 the Portuguese captured the country and that was continued by the Dutch, however, during the British regime they were registered under an administrative unit. Eventually they became crown lands,” he said.
“The title deeds that should have been given 1 ½ years ago, would be handed over by the President on October (12) at Kilinochchi. This is being done by the President to show the international community that lands were given to the people in the North. However, they are not new title deeds. The majority of them were replacing the title deeds that were lost or destroyed during the conflict.
“In the name of the Mahaweli scheme, lands in the North were acquired. Permission should be sought from NPC to acquire lands in the North. Accordingly, I received between 25 and 30 applications from the Army in the recent past. Lands were asked for to set up Army camps. I rejected them citing that lands would be given only for public use.
“Thereafter, I never received any applications and on inquiry I came to know that they were sent to the Land Commissioner. The Land Act clearly says that land could be acquired only for public use. Recently at the Vavuniya District Coordinating Committee meeting I inquired from the District Secretary about the land acquisition in Vavuniya.
He said that lands were given to the Army citing it as for public use.
I queried from him how lands given to the Army could be called for public use. He responded that they were given to the Army as they were occupying the lands to provide security and protection to the general public. “I explained to him that we placed a mandate before the people to send the Army from the North and that was how we won the elections,” Wigneswaran said.
“The educational matters pertaining to the Muslims sent out of Jaffna now living in Puttalam were taken care of by the NPC. “A person who owns land in Puttalam was claiming land in the North too. Is it a justifiable demand, queried the Chief Minister. “Responding to his question NPC member Ayub Asmin said that only a few people were involved in such acts using political influence. We could institute legal action against them,” he said.