The release of military acquired lands in the North and East has been accelerated following the establishment of the Special Task force for the development of the Northern and Eastern Provinces.
This was disclosed by the security forces at the meeting of the Presidential Task Force for the Development of the North and East chaired by President Maithripala Sirisena. The meeting focused attention on the issues and suggestions presented by political representatives of the Northern and Eastern Provinces.
The Task Force was established in August last year by President Sirisena to expedite the development of the North and the East. Following the establishment of the Task Force, 6951 acres of land in the two provinces have been released with the support of all parties including the Governors of the Northern and Eastern Provinces and another 475 acres of land will be released in the near future.
The President instructed the governors of the two provinces to be proactive and discuss their issues with the military authorities to expedite attempts to solve these issues. He instructed the relevant officials to bring and discuss any issues that cannot be resolved at a future meeting of the task force.
At the end of the humanitarian operation in 2009, nearly 84,675 acres of land in the North and the East remained with the security forces. The clearance of lands by the de-mining process was accelerated after President Sirisena assumed office in January 2015 with 71,178 acres already released to their owners.
Accordingly, 13,497 acres of land is in the custody of the security forces, of which 11,039 acres of land are State owned lands. A further 475 acres of land will be released in the coming days. Accordingly, the State lands in the North and East which were in the custody of the Security Forces (81%) and the private lands belonging to the private owners (90%) have been released. The President also instructed the officials to release the rest of the lands in an accelerated manner and to expedite the payment of compensation.
The leader of the Tamil National Alliance, Mr. R. Sampanthan, Governor of the Northern Province Dr. Suren Raghavan, Governor of the Eastern Province, Mr. M.L.A.M. Hizbullah, Secretary to the President Mr. Udaya R. Senevirathne, three commanders of the Armed forces and the IGP were also present at this meeting. (Sandun A Jayasekera)