June 06, Colombo: Since the end of war in May 2009 the security forces have returned 18,044 acres of land back to their owners in the North, Army Media Spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said.
Addressing the media briefing at the Media Centre of the Defence and the Urban Development Ministry, Brigadier Wanigasooriya said after liberating the country from the clutches of the LTTE, the Army had been gradually releasing the lands, on which Army camps were setup during the war.
According to the Spokesman, in 2009, 4379 acres were released while 6452 acres, 5817 acres, 785 acres and 410 acres were released to the civilians in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 respectively. So far 201 acres of land have been handed back to civil owners this year alone.
He said the army camps and other small units set up on these lands have been removed.
He said a majority of the Security Forces' camps have been established on government own lands and on lands used by LTTE for their camps.
"The security forces do not in any instance occupy private land by force in any part of the country, and it does not unnecessarily hold any land or set up camps. Camps are established or removed only based on national security concerns and requirements. Decisions on such issues are not made on an ad hoc manner but are taken only after detailed study and discussion," Brigadier Wanigasooriya explained.
He said the Army will release those lands to the AGA of the respective area and the AGA will distribute those to the original owners.
"The land distribution process is solely with the AGA of the respective area," the spokesman said.