The Sri Lankan government is to hand hundreds of acres of land back to civilians in the former war-torn northern part of the country, a senior cabinet minister said Thursday.
Initially over 1,000 acres of land close to military bases in Jaffna, 390 kilometres north of the capital, would be released, plantation industries minister Lakshman Kiriella said.
The land was designated as a “high security zone” during the country’s civil war. The government move will enable civilians to re-occupy their houses and carry on with farming in the area, Kiriella said.
The release of civilian-owned land in the northern and eastern parts of the country has been a long-standing demand of Tamil political parties after the Tamil rebels were defeated in May 2009 after a prolonged civil war.
The decision was taken by a new government brought to power in elections last month.
More than 6,000 acres of land remain designated as “high security zones.”