SLN expands Thiriyai naval base

[TamilNet, Sunday, 08 December 2002, 20:14 GMT]
Thiriyai Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) main base, relocated to a new location one mile from the Thiriyai Tamil Vidyalayam in May this year, is now being strengthened as a permanent base, a group of civilians told the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader and the district parliamentarian Mr.R.Sampanthan when he paid a visit Saturday evening to see if any progress has been made by recently resettled farmers, sources said.

Thiriyai IDPs.
Displaced come from refugee centers, attend cultivation work at Thiriyai and return the same day evening.
Mr.Sampanthan on his visit saw new land area close to the seacoast fenced with barbed wire as preliminary step towards expanding the perimeter of the SLN main base, sources said.

The resettlers now engaged in paddy cultivation said they are subjected to severe checks by SLN personnel daily when they pass through the sentry point of the SLN at Thiriyai.

The new land earmarked for the expansion of the SLN main base at Thiriyai had already been surveyed.

The SLN occupied Thiriyai Tamil Vidiyalayam buildings as their camp till May this year. Following representation made to the authorities concerned for the removal of the main camp, the SLN relocated it about a km away from the school.

TNA parliamentarian R.Sampanthan, LTTE Kumburupiddy political head Mr.Sivakumar with irrigation engineers and cultivators inspecting the dried Neelapanikankulam (reservoir).
Thiriyai villagers told Mr.Sampanthan that the SLN draw sand from residential lands abandoned in Thiriyai village to strengthen their main naval base. Mr.Sampanthan and his team saw the residential lands said to have been damaged by the SLN.

Leaving their wives and children at refugee camps and welfare centres several miles away at Nilaveli and Kumburupiddy villages only the male heads of the displaced cultivate their lands in Thiriyai village, forty two km north of Trincomalee town. They go to Thiriyai by morning bus and return by evening to refugee camps and welfare centers to join their families. Some stay in temporary huts put up in the fields to save their crop from wild animals, sources said.

About four hundred heads of displaced families have come to Thiriyai village and have started cultivating paddy in 1500 acres, agricultural department sources said.

Mr.Sampanthan accompanied by the national list parliamentarian Mr.K.Thurairatnasingham and the political head of the LTTE Kumburupiddy division Mr. Sivakumar visited the major tank Neelapanikankulam which is in the Thiriyai village. The Neelapanikankulam has no water at present as the bund of the tank had breached several years ago following the mass displacement of the Tamil families when violence broke out in the year 1990, sources said. Under the Neelapanikankulam scheme more than six hundred acres could be cultivated with paddy both seasons.

However elsewhere in the village rain fed cultivation is being carried out in more than seven hundred acres.

Several heads of displaced families said they would bring their families and reside in the village after the harvest of the paddy. However the authorities should take immediate steps from today onwards to provide infrastructure facilities such as hospital, school, post office and other public utility services to the village before they bring in their families to the village, they stressed.

Paddy field,  Thiriyai.
Paddy fields in Thiriyai.


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