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   Home      Tissa Attanayake sworn in as new Health Minister
 
 
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The Sri Lanka Army has bought a land belonging to Kotagala Plantations in Ingiriya with a view to establish a camp. Clarifying the Raigama Estate land issue, Director/Spokesperson of the Media Centre of the Ministry of Defence, Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said that the land was bought in keeping with government financial regulation with annual funds allocated to the army.

He stressed that the land was not taken over as alleged by certain groups but bought by the army to establish a camp. Denying these baseless allegations he went on to say that with the reduction of armed forces' presence in the North and East the army needs to have proper places to house those troops. In the event of the unavailability of suitable state land the army has to seek alternative solutions and buy private land. The army has legally acquired this twenty acre land in order to establish a camp and had not forcibly occupied the land he further clarified.

Elaborating on the reduction of troop from the former theatre of war he said that over 40 percent of troops have already been removed from the North and East to other parts of the country. Drawing a parallel of security force presence he said that more than 30 percent of the total security forces is stationed in the Western Province.

Clarifying another land issue Brig. Wanigasooriya said that the security forces have taken on lease a twelve acre land at Andiyapuliankulam in Chettikulam for agricultural purposes and had not forcefully taken over the land. He categorically denied claims that the land was forcefully taken over by the security forces and said that the security forces never have taken over land in such manner. He said that the land which was the former Zone 3 of the Manik Farm Welfare Center for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) was acquired by the security forces on a lease with the resettlement of the IDPs and its subsequent closure in 2010. The security forces acquired the land on a lease from the government in 2011 and began developing it as a farm. Security forces pay annual rent on the lease to the state and had even paid rent for this year.

Commenting on the claim on the land by a group citing the need to build a playground he reiterated that the land was never forcefully occupied by the security forces but has been leased from the government. He further said that the issue will be cleared with the intervention of the Divisional Secretary.