Paramilitaries said behind threat to poison supply wells

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 15 September 2004, 17:13 GMT]
The chief water works engineer for Batticaloa said Wednesday that squatters on land reserved for tapping underground springs were threatening to poison wells from which water is pumped the eastern town to stop authorities from evicting them. The squatters who are threatening to poison supply wells are backed by paramilitaries that illegally sold them the reserved state land during the war between 1990 and 94, officials said.

The chief engineer urged the Batticaloa government agent to provide Police security for the supply wells.

GA instructed officials to start legal proceedings on Friday to evict two hundred and sixteen families that are illegally squatting on land reserved for digging new wells to supply water to the Batticaloa town.

The decision to evict squatters was taken at a meeting in the Batticaloa District Secretariat Wednesday afternoon chaired by GA Mr. V. Shanmugam.

The state lands reserved for tapping underground water sources to supply Batticaloa lie Velore, Kallady, on the southern outskirts of the town. Paramilitaries working with the Sri Lanka army divided and sold the reservation land for high prices, as demand for land here is on the rise.

Some of the land was occupied by relatives and cronies of the paramilitaries. Officials said 136 acres of reserved land are now occupied illegally. Water to the town, mostly to Batticaloa hospital and its neighbourhood, are pumped from three wells.

"More wells have to be dug meet the heavy demand", said Mr. R. D Prakash, District Water Supply Engineer.

He said twenty two million rupees allocated last year to build new supply wells had to be sent back unutilised because of the squatters.

 

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