Sri Lankan government officials, tasked with surveying 500 acres of land for transfer to the Civil Aviation Authority in Jaffna's Valikamam North, were compelled to retreat in the face of vehement opposition from local residents.
After learning that officials were planning to measure the land today, residents from Kurumbasiddy, Vasavilan, Kadduvan, Kadduvan West and Kuplan flocked to the site to stop the officers from measuring the land which is for the development and extension of the Jaffna International Airport in Palali.
The residents had submitted a written objection to the District Secretary and demanded an urgent meeting to address the matter, however they are yet to receive a response.
Recently residents told the Tamil Guardian that officials from the Survey Department of Sri Lanka along with gramasevaka had visited the area around Valikamam North and surveyed a new parcel of land in the presence of the locals.
“These are residents who after undergoing many hardships are now farming on their lands to make ends meet, we ask then why are there officials coming to survey the land and ask for our signatures,” asked one of the residents. “We were right there, in our homes when we observed that they were surveying the land around the same area. We cannot accept nor allow them to take back these lands.”
The areas that have been surveyed previously include Kurumbasiddy, Vasavilan, Kadduvan, Kadduvan West, Kuplan which had already been handed back to people.
“The people are very confused, they were asked to give their permission which they refused to do until higher authorities explain the purpose behind these activities,” he said. “We had to fight hard to even get back the lands we rightfully deserve, our of 6000 acres, we have been given 3000 based on the assurance by President Ranil Wickremasinghe. It is out of this 3000 which has been given to us that they are trying to take nearly 500 acres.”