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Palaly residents struggle for resettlement despite land allocation

Residents of Palaly, located in Valikamam North, continue to face significant challenges to get resettled, despite the allocation of lands for this purpose. The state's failure to provide the necessary support and permits for building houses and infrastructure on the released lands has left the affected residents in a difficult situation.

These residents were forcibly displaced in 1990 due to the ongoing ethnic war, security concerns, and the area's designation as a high-security zone. For the past 33 years, they have been living in internally displaced camps in Chinnavalai, Polikandy, Nilavan, Kankesanthurai, and Aanaipanthi, which lack basic facilities and have made their day-to-day lives a constant struggle and are reliant on welfare organisations for basic necessities.

After years of continuous protests following the end of the ethnic war, the state finally allocated land. However, despite being surveyed by the Survey Department, the residents have yet to receive the deeds for the allocated land. Out of 49 families living in the five IDP camps mentioned above, only 45 families have been allocated lands, with bureaucratic hurdles cited as reasons for the remaining four families' lack of allocation.

Compounding the issue, military personnel continue to occupy the lands designated for the residents. The persistent challenges faced in the refugee camps have reinforced their determination to leave the camps and begin anew.

Of the 13 and a half acres of land allocated to the 45 families, 10 perches have been designated for a kovil, and an additional 2 acres for a school. Each family has been allotted 2 perches of land. However, due to the lack of development in the area and the continued occupation of the land, it is often prone to flooding during heavy rains. The absence of basic infrastructure, including drainage, water supply, and electricity, renders the allocated land unsuitable for habitation.

The families noted that the lands that they have been allocated were not in the village that they used to live in. Despite this, and the many struggles, they are determined to begin their lives anew, in order to overcome the challenges that they face living in the refugee camps. 

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