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Sri Lanka shifts navy camp in Sampur, pledges to release land

The Sri Lankan government announced it would be shifting a navy camp in Sampur and blocking Sri Lankan Board of Investment projects, in order to release land to resettle displaced villagers in the East.

Commenting
on the pledge to release the land, Tamil National Alliance spokesperson Suresh Premachandran said “ultimately our struggle has borne fruit”.

However, Sri Lanka's former Defence Secretary and current Eastern Province Governor Austin Fernando said the government had not faced any pressure to shift the camp, denying that the move was “politically motivated” or that it had been “carried out under the influence of the Indian government” according to Sri Lanka's President Media Unit.

"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," said Mr Fernando.

He went on to state that the plan to release the land was originally put in place by the previous government, led by Mahinda Rajapksa. "What the incumbent government is doing is honouring these pledges given by the previous government to the displaced people," he said.

A new naval base costing Rs. 150-200 million would be built in an adjacent location added Mr Fernando, saying, "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".