The Government is considering about implementing a new plan at a cost of around 3.25 billion US Dollars, as if to reveal that there is no chance of taking a decision to remove the Army completely from the North. This plan is to be started with Vali North at its centre. And the government had decided to extend this plan throughout North.
It is understood that countries including America, Britain and India had pledges to support this massive scheme. Extension of Airport and Harbour and shifting the camps of the Security Forces are included in this plan.
During the Mahindha regime, more than 6,500 acre of ancestral lands of Tamils were acquired and brought under the control of armed forces including the Army, in the Vali North, which was declared as the HSZ.
Although President Mahindha and his Ministers and the state side, from time to time gave promises that, these lands will be released in stages, displaced persons will be re-settled in their own lands, the re-settlement of the people was an impossible one.
The people who got displaced from Vali North, who are leading a welfare centre-life for 26 long years are still housed in 38 welfare centres.
After Maithri took over, the re-settlement is being done, but in a very slow pace. It is a matter of consolation to some extent to Tamil people that, Maithri’s government had at least released 1,000 acre of land for resettlement.
In this context the Prime Minister had given a plan for consideration to former State Minister Mrs. Wijekala Maheswaran, which clearly show that there is no chance of the Government taking a decision of removing the Army from the North.
It is good news for the people that, the people’s lands on which the Palaly Air Port is located will be released to the people while the Air Port will be shifted into the sea.
When the Army is occupying the people’s land only, anyone can demand their removal. Now that they are moved in to the sea, nobody could demand the removal of them. This may be the coup d’etat of the Government.
Questions have been raised now whether the Army activities will not take place although they are shifted into the sea?
It is shown in the draft that this scheme will be extended to around 1.5Km. into the sea. While the Army, Navy and Air Force camps are to be taken into the sea, this draft had been drawn to extend the Palaly Air Port and its runway into the sea.
One could expect this scheme could remove the blockade in the re-settlement, but it is going to create a permanent location for the armed forces, which could not be demanded to be removed, whichever Government coming to power.
Naturalists are also worried about the destruction that will be caused to the coral reefs and other marine resources of the North.
By Courtesy: The Valampuri – Jaffna.