President revokes Sampur land agreement
President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday (May 7)
revoked the agreement under which lands in Sampur were allocated for
the Board of investment of Sri Lanka to commence investment
These lands would be released for the resettlement
of people who were displaced in terrorist atrocities in the area.
President Maithripala Sirisena signed the relevant Gazzette
Notification last evening releasing the land in Sampur area which
was earlier allocated to Board of Investment for resettlement
Commenting on this TNA Member of Parliment S.
Sumanthiran said that this land area in Sampur would be utilized for
the resettlement of displaced people in the area. The previous
government had allocated lands for the BoI for investment projects.
Meanwhile, Eastern Province Governor and one time
Defence Secretary Austin Fernando categorically denied allegations
that shifting of the Naval camp in Sampur was politically motivated
and carried out under the influence of the Indian government.
He said the Naval Training camp will be shifted to
an adjoining location to resettle the displaced in Sampur in their
original places of residence.
Fernando stressed that this camp is shifted across
the fence although critics said this move would jeopardise national
The Eastern Province Governor added that the
decision to shift the camp was taken on the approval of all
stakeholders including the Navy Commander and the Defence Secretary.
"Certain elements say that shifting of the camp is
a sell out to the LTTE. This was done after discussing the issue
with all stake holders including the Defence Secretary and the Navy
Commander," he said.
Fernando added that the defence authorities'
concern was how to ensure the security of the Naval base and the
Trincomalee harbour and they had to select a location which was
facing the Naval base.
The Governor said 825 families displaced families
were living in Sampur.
These families have been living in temporary
shelter under trying conditions for more than 10 years, he said.
Fernando said the previous government promised to
the Supreme Court that the people displaced in Sampur would be
resettled in their original places of residence in compliance with
the internationally accepted practice for resettlement.
The Governor added that former President Mahinda
Rajapaksa and former Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa
also pledged to give them back their own lands.
"What the incumbent government is doing is
honouring these pledges given by the previous government to the
displaced people," he said.
"How many of you would prefer to live in a small
shelter? We would not stay even 10 minutes in these small huts. We
are criticised for taking measures to help these people," Fernando
The Governor said many of these families have
become displaced more than three times and they should be looked at
in a more humane way.
A new naval training camp with all modern
facilities are to be put up in this new location for which the
government is to set apart Rs. 150 to Rs. 200 million.
"The Treasury has already promised the Defence
Ministry that it would allocate funds for the establishment of a
modern Naval training facility in this new location," he said.
Courtesy : President Media Unit