The Sunday Leader

Tamil Families In Slums Offered Land Incentives To Shift North

  • Defence Ministry Initiative For Colombo Tamils

By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema

The Defence Ministry has offered plots of land in the North to Tamil families residing in temporary houses in the Colombo City.
This initiative by the Defence Ministry is part of a joint effort with the Urban Development Authority which it also oversees to relocate close to 60,000 families living on state owned lands in the Colombo City.
The Defence Ministry has instructed the governing party members in the local government bodies within the Colombo City limits to inform Tamil families living in slums on state owned lands in their respective areas of the government’s offer.
A UPFA local government member requesting anonymity said they were instructed at a meeting held at the Defence Ministry on the Colombo City development plan to prepare a list of names of Tamil families who wished to return to their original hometowns in the North.
“We were asked to inform the Tamil families who had arrived in Colombo from the North during the conflict that the government was prepared to provide them with land in the North for them to return to, if they so wished,” the local government member said.
The Sunday Leader learns that the Kolonnawa Urban Council members have been asked to inform the Tamil residents in Sathammage Watte and Vadullawatte in the Orugodawatte area of the government’s offer.
An official from the Kolonnawa Urban Council told The Sunday Leader that there are between 3,000 to 4,000 families within the city limits.
He said that most of these families have been living in these areas for over 20 years.
“These families were even given loans amounting to Rs. 17,500 during President Premadasa’s time and the common amenities have been provided by the Urban Council,” he said, also speaking on conditions of anonymity.
The government in the meantime, has launched a housing scheme called Sudunelumpura in the Salamulla area in Colombo to house some of the residents who are to be relocated.
“There are a few families who have said they preferred to return to the North,” the local government member said. However, when asked as to how many Tamil families have come forward to accept the government’s offer, he said he could not give an exact number as the survey is still being carried out.
The UDA meanwhile is conducting a survey to gather information about the families that are to be relocated
The UDA has also said the government has identified lands in Homagama, Gampaha and Kalutara to relocate families that are to be moved out from the Colombo City.

11 Comments for “Tamil Families In Slums Offered Land Incentives To Shift North”

  1. What is the gurantee that once they are relocated in the north, that the army will not drive them away by saying that they want the land? This is already happening to tamil IDPs who returned to their homes in villages in the north.
    Also a person named Susantha Gunatilleke has “identified” some villages where tamils had been living peacefully for past many decades as places “where there were buddhist temples” and that they should be vacated.
    Will this too happen?

  2. JG

    If they took refuge in Colombo slums due to their inability to live peacefully in their orignal habitat, its a good move. If the deal turns out well for them you can expect more takers.

  3. kugan

    good effort by the government. i hope to see colombo city gets really beautiful like singapore. we need get those metros down as well for the city. development of colombo is really important for development of tourisum and other economical development. no one should compare us to Bangladesh, nepal or india after seeing the new outlook of the city.

    • gamunu

      Hello Kugan, back again,eh? It is some time since I read one of your messages. looks rather differnt to what you wrote during the war and in the immediate aftermath of it. Then you were very anti sinhalese and was against any thing the GOSL handled.
      You even mocked at suggestions from certain politicos that Colombo will one day be like singapore. No hard feelings Kugan. Some people do change views when they see the reality. You are the second person after Yehiya-Doha. welcome back to the real wortd to both of you. We need more like you in SL

      • kugan

        my views about war never changed, its still the same n i have plenty of sinhalease friends n i’m not a racist. i just hate only the racist sinhalease n talk only against them.
        at the same time, a person who is from colombo, i’m happy with the new action taken by the government eventhough i prefer UNP.
        so my point is, whenever someone does good, its our responsibility to appreciate it. simple as that.

        • gamunu

          Kugan,
          Wonderful explanation. You only commented on racist sinhala eleiments and not of racist tamils as if racism never existed amongst the Tamil community? Did they ever accept any one else other that from the Tamil community settling in Jaffana? Why didn’t the Tamils like you ever condemn racist elements amongst their own community until the defeat of the terrorists. I too have Tamil friends, but I have my reservation on their ulterior motives. experience go deeper than words.
          You may call one “machang” but that it self is not a sign of friendship.

          When Tamils were harrassed in 1956 my parents saved an entire family from a group of thugs but I saw no person taking similar action to prevent sinhalese and muslims being chased away. In addition to that
          you and all tamils fought for a mono ethnic state in SL during which countless innocent sinahala, muslim and other communities either lost their lives or property. These racist elements exist in all communities and Tamils are not excluded. So be impartial and admit to it.
          I have no problems with your political allegeance but glad to see you have begun to accept certain developments that even your Sun God failed to deliver.

        • kugan

          first of all,
          i want to point out few things,
          i agree there r few racist tamils and i believe people from any part of the sri lanka can live anywhere they like. u were saying about ur parents saving tamils, so u accept tamils have been periodically been attacked in this country. Y tamils didnt save other races when they r attacked? Simple, the LTTE did not do something like the 1956 or 1983 or 1986 riots, i accept people from other races were chased from north n east which is really wrong n i’m no lawyer for all the crimes committed by LTTE. just like how i cant accuse u for the atrocities n murders committed by JVP and the some from the army. me n tamils fought for mono ethnic war? most LTTE members r tamils but not most tamils r LTTE members, dont forget that. N during the war, not only Sinhalese n Muslims died, more tamils died than anyone else.
          n i consider no one as my sun god, i never considered like that…look, the LTTE started for a good cause, wat will u do, tamils were majority n we keep attacking Sinhalese periodically, killing,burning alive n so on? u start fighting for self defense, which is 100% correct but Later on, the LTTE started going in wrong directions into a terrorist outfit with bombing champaign in colombo, which is 100% wrong, no doubt.
          have a look at the innocent civilians in north n east, we r still being keep like a prisoners by EPDP,TELP,EPRLF,TMVP,Karuna group. if this is wat the government was claiming as a rescue operation(rescuing tamils from LTTE n handing over us to paramilitary), might as well not done the rescue operations , coz people were suffering less with LTTE than paramilitary group, even though they were suffering.

  4. silva

    After they settle in the North, they will go and build Buddhist temples and say they have to move away.
    Centuries ago, Tamils followed Buddhism also.

    • gamunu

      silva,
      Not clear what your views are!! Is it good or bad for the country and the nation?

  5. Lionel

    They may be called as “Harijans” after sometime or draged to terrorism.

  6. Ian D.S

    Ethnic cleansing by any other name is still ethnic cleansing. That people is the long and short of it A-la- Rajapaksha’s.

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