By Saman Indrajith
The government would not remove the Navy camps at Silawathura and Mullikulam as they were necessary for curbing arms and drug and human smuggling operations, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament yesterday.
In answer to a question raised by SLMC MP MHM Salman, who demanded that the removal of the Navy base at Silawathura and release of land to civilians, the Prime Minister said that a Navy Base had been established in Silawathura Grama Niladhari Division of the Musali Divisional Secretariat Division of the Mannar District. The location of this Navy base was strategically important for the national security.
“It is an important location in terms of preventing illegal migration and illegal transportation of goods too,” he said.
According to the PM, the Navy is currently using a land encompassing 34 acres 02 roods and 8.43 perches. It has already been decided to release six acres two roods 8.43 perches out of this land. Action is being taken to release this portion of land to the owners, through the Divisional Secretary, Musali. So far 66 persons have claimed ownership of the land. Out of this number, 38 persons are dead. Government has given alternative lands of 20 perches each to 12 persons and four houses have been constructed.
Action is being taken to acquire the land to the government for the use of the Navy under the Land Acquisition Act. Instructions have already been given to the Divisional Secretary – Musali to make necessary arrangements to provide compensation to the lawful owners of the lands according to the Government valuation.
Responding to a question raised by TNA MP Charles Nirmalanathan, who demanded that the government instruct the Navy to vacate its camp at Mullikulam and give the land back to civilians there, the Prime Minister said that the Navy camp had been set up on state land. The camp was instrumental in combating drug smuggling activities taking place at the Northern and North Western coasts. “In 2012, the navy released 500 acres and later another 252 acres of their lands to resettle people in the area. The land is situated in the Wilpattu reserve belonging to the Wildlife Conservation Department. There is a Roman Catholic Church as well as a Roman Catholic Tamil school in the area coming under the purview of the navy and 87 acres have been released for the school and the church. The police and the Navy have provided access roads, electricity, transport and clean drinking water for the residents using the school and the church. The navy took the initiative to recruit six teachers for the school. For the use of those resettled in the area, 27 houses have been built by the Navy, 134 houses under the Indian Credit line, 26 houses by the Ministry of Resettlement. The camp is on state land and therefore there is no need for removing it.”
Courtesy: The Island