President halts Palaly expansion plan

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 24 March 1999, 18:53 GMT]
The Sri Lankan President has ordered a halt to the acquisition of land to expand the 'perimeters' of the Palaly Sri Lankan Army (SLA) base in the Jaffna Peninsula said the state run Sri Lanka Broadcasting Co-operation (SLBC) today.

"She has received representations from Tamil political parties and various organisations protesting about the implementation of this plan". "The acquiring order had been gazetted on October 7 1987 by the then Minister of Land and Land Development Gamini Dissanayaka. The President, while instructing to stop the implementation of the land acquring program has ordered an inquiry in this regard." the radio said.

UNP sources and some Tamil politicians in Colombo, reacting to the announcement this evening, said that this was a move calculated to win Tamil support on the eve of the crucial provincial council elections.

Passing the blame on the UNP for the Palaly expansion plan is apparently an election gimmick aimed at alienating the party from the Tamils said an opposition spokeman this evening.

Political analysts in Colombo say that the ruling PA is concerned that the Tamil vote in the central and the Uva provinces might go to the UNP rather than its ally the Ceylon Workers Congress.

Meanwhile, the SLA refused permission for a meeting organised by the Hindu organisations of Jaffna at the Mallakam Mahaviththiyalam to discuss the take over of land around the Palaly base. The meeting was scheduled to be held at 2 p.m. this afternoon.


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