Kuchchaveli IDPs urge speedy resettlement
[TamilNet, Sunday, 10 November 2002, 17:34 GMT]
Hundreds of displaced Tamil families from villages in Kuchchaveli division, 34 km north of the Trincomalee district and now residing in refugee camps elsewhere Sunday said that they should be resettled in their areas without delay and should be provided with necessary facilities. They attended a meeting held Sunday at Kuchchaveli Vivekanandan Maha Vidiyalayam where the resettlement of the displaced and their rehabilitation were discussed.
( L-R ) Mr.Sivakumar, LTTE Kuchchaveli political head, TNA Trincomalee MP Mr.Sampanthan,
TNA national list MP Mr.Thurairatnasingham and Kuchaveli Divisional Secretary Mr.K.S.Jayachandra
Two Tamil National Alliance parliamentarians Mr.R.Sampanthan (Trincomalee district) and K.Thurairetnasingham (national list), Kuchchaveli divisional political head of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, Mr. Sivakumar also participated at the meeting.
At the commencement of the meeting, Mr.K.S.Jayachandra, Kuchchaveli Divisional Secretary said the main of the aim of the meeting was to find out the needs of the displaced to speed up their resettlement in three villages, Iranakerni, Veerancholai and Kuchchaveli. He requested the displaced people present at the meeting to come out with their needs and grievances.
Mr.Manikkam Muthulingam, a village leader said that about nine hundred families from the Kuchchaveli were displaced in 1990. Ninety nine percent of their houses were destroyed. Several houses of the displaced civilians have been occupied by the Sri Lankan Government armed forces. A SLA camp has blocked the road, which leads to a Hindu temple close to the police station in Kuchchaveli. A Vinayagar temple, which was used by fishermen to pray before venturing fishing in sea, had been completely destroyed in the violence. About fifteen mile long roads in the villages have to be rehabilitated to provide better transport enabling the displaced to resettle. Quarters to teachers and principals to schools in the village were also destroyed.
Karuna, a villager said he is presently residing at Nilaveli refugee camp. He was living at Veerancholai in Kuchchaveli before displacement. The Sri Lanka Navy which had occupying the Veerancholai School until recently has recently relocated its camp in a land belonging to displaced people, close to the school.
An angry displaced woman arguing that she should be allowed to resettle in her land .
Several displaced persons from the village Veerancholai told the meeting that their profession was fishing. Hence they should be provided with lands along the coastal area from Kuchchaveli to down south beyond Salapai Aru Bridge.
TNA national list MP Mr.Thurairatnesingham said that displaced people should prepare themselves for immediate resettlement in the villages in the Kuchchaveli division. Action will be taken to provide all infrastructure facilities to their villages once they return.
TNA Trincomalee district parliamentarian Mr.Sampanthan said displaced will not be allowed to stay in refugee camps forever at the mercy of the government's dole. The time has come for them to resettle in their villages, as the international community is getting ready to provide necessary aid following the successful peace talks held recently in Thailand between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE. We must get prepared ourselves to utilize the money for the welfare of the displaced.
A section of the displaced men and women at the meeting.
When a displaced woman told the meeting that she is mother of six children, eldest is 47 years of age and the youngest is 26 and she owns only a two-acre plot when she was displaced from Kuchchaveli, Mr.Sampanthan said every family should be provided with residential and agricultural land separately. All married children of each family would be considered as separate unit.
Mr.Sampanthan asked the Divisional Secretary and other village level officers present at the meeting to identify lands in their areas to allocate for the landless families when they return for resettlement in their villages.
He told the displaced that houses for them under the resettlement scheme should be constructed before the end of the next year. The resettlement of the displaced should not be allowed to carry on for several years.
"We enter a new era with the peace talks that would allow the resettlement of the displaced and reconstruction of the war ravaged northeast province with the massive foreign funding,"Mr.Sampanthan told the audience.