Army suspects sinister campaign to prevent
it from buying lands it requires in North

by Dasun Edirisinghe

Owners of the land where the Achchuveli Army Camp was situated showed their interest to hand over it to the government after accepting compensation, but now they were refusing to do so due to a politically motivated campaign, Military Spokesman Brig. Ruwan Wanigasuriya said yesterday.

Nine persons owned the blocks of land where part of the army camp was located, he said, noting that they were not living in welfare camps contrary to claims made in some quarters.

Brig. Wanigasuriya was addressing the weekly defence press briefing held at the Media Centre of Defence and Urban Development Ministry.

"Except one, all others are now settled in their own lands," he said, adding that one of them was living in a rented house for personal reasons, but he also has other lands.

Brig. Wanigasuriya said that the Achchuveli army camp had been set up in 1995. Following inquiries by the army nine owners had been identified for one part of the land and the rest belonged to the government.

Now, the army had started surveying the portion of the land owned by private owners to pay compensation to them, he said, adding that some of them were living in Colombo.

He said there was a similar issue as regards the land in Mirusuvil and its owner was earlier willing to accept compensation, but now she was refusing to do so.

Mirusuvil land had been used to set up the army’s 52 brigade camp. The land was used by the LTTE as a training centre before 2009, Brig. Wanigasuriya said.

He said that there were army camps on 26,000 acres in the Northern peninsula before the war ended, but the area had shrunk to 6,500 acres. Brig. Wanigasuriya said that the Army had to maintain camps in some places for national security reasons.

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