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Resettle in original places

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Sampur displaced

The resettlement of the displaced in the Sampur region will continue. A total of 1,272 families in five Grama Niladari areas had been displaced from the area. The Government is taking measures to resettle them in their original places, and provide them initial livelihood assistance as well. The navy camp in Sampur will be relocated to an adjoining land, where it will be permanently established with state-of-the-art facilities.

Eastern Province Governor Austin Fernando speaking to the media categorically denied allegations that the relocation of the navy camp was politically motivated or done under duress by external forces. The decision to relocate the navy camp was taken after consultation with all stakeholders, including the Secretary to the Ministry of Defense and the Navy Commander.

The new location was selected to ensure the safety of the naval base and the Trincomalee harbor. The camp will be relocated to a land of 180 acres, which will have a 4km-long stretch of beach front. Even though the former land was larger (237 acres) it had only about 1.5km of beach front. The new location would be much conducive for training and security purposes.

The navy camp, SLNS Vidura will be shifted to resettle the IDP families who were displaced due to terrorist activity. About 579 families will be resettled in their original land vacated by the Navy. Their ownership of the land has been verified through legal documents such as the elections registry, householders list and Grama Niladari data, the Governor said.

With the end of the terrorist conflict, the government embarked on a resettlement program to resettle all displaced families. During the post-war reconciliation program, it was pledged to resettle all IDPs in their original places by the Government. Up to now, most of the displaced families of Sampur are living in temporary locations under deplorable conditions. Many of the families had been displaced more than once.

The new naval training camp will be established with all modern state-of-the-art facilities in the new location with funds from the Government. The Governor stressed that the camp is being shifted literally just across the fence and will not jeopardize security as some critics say.

Sampur is situated about 30 km South-East of Trincomalee on the South-Eastern side of the Trincomalee Harbor. Due to its strategic location, Sampur was used as a launching pad by the terrorist to attack the naval base and craft in the Trincomalee Harbor and generally destabilize the region. The LTTE terrorists launched many attacks on naval craft and the Trincomalee base from this area. In order to deny the advantage of this strategic location a naval camp was established in November 2007 which was later commissioned as SLNS Vidura in August 2013. Its proximity to the Trincomalee naval base and the Eastern seaboard proved ideal for further securing the region against any destabilizing activity by terrorists. The camp was used as a recruit training centre. The trainees and the staff were housed in some buildings of an abandoned school and temporary pre-fabricated huts. With the end of the humanitarian operations the LTTE terrorists were defeated and peace returned. Thus the Government was able to commence its resettlement program.

Presidential Secretary, Secretary to the Ministry of Defense, Chief of Defense Staff, Commanders of Army and Air Force, Director General Operation of the Navy and senior government officials were present during the press briefing.

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