Published on: May 26, 2024

People Granted Free Land Rights Without Revolution or Legal Battles, Mirroring Colonial Laws

  • Transform Vavuniya Hospital into a main hospital.
  • Establish a new Faculty of Medicine at Vavuniya University.
  • Four new health units to Point Pedro, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya, and Mankulam.
  • Expedite the issuance of land deeds for resettled individuals in Vavuniya- President.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe announced that the government has prioritized granting free land rights to the citizens, ensuring justice under a law that aims to rectify historical injustices where certain groups obtained land privileges without facing resistance or legal challenges.

The President made this declaration while participating in the Vavuniya District Program of the “Urumaya” initiative, which was convened this morning (26) at Puthukkudiyiruppu Madhya Maha Vidyalaya.

President Ranil Wickramasinghe also outlined plans for the development of Vavuniya Hospital into a major healthcare facility and the establishment of a new Faculty of Medicine at Vavuniya University.

Furthermore, he emphasized the swift implementation of the “Urumaya” program in Vavuniya district, alongside the expedited distribution of land deeds to resettled individuals.

In this regard, 600 freehold deeds have been allocated, covering five divisional secretary quotas in Mullaitivu district, with an additional 1,376 freehold deeds slated for distribution in Mullaitivu district as part of the on-going “Urumaya” program.

Addressing the gathering President Ranil Wickremesinghe further stated that;

First and foremost, I would like to convey my pleasure for the opportunity to visit Mullaitivu district today in my capacity as President. Mullaitivu holds a special significance in our efforts to grant freehold deeds under the “Urumaya” program.
The conflict led to the destruction of buildings in the area, forcing numerous individuals to vacate their land.

Consequently, the task of resettlement in Mullaitivu district has become significantly challenging. Therefore, we are making necessary arrangements for the issuance of freehold deeds to those who have been resettled, in addition to implementing the “Urumaya” program.

Member of Parliament Kader Masthan has informed me that approximately 18,000 individuals are slated to receive these deeds. Our administration is working towards ensuring the timely provision of those deeds. To bolster these efforts, I have recently granted approval for the recruitment of additional personnel for both the Land Commissioner General’s Department and the Survey Department.

It is worth noting that the “Urumaya” initiative, offering 2 million free land titles to the populace for the first time in our country’s history, stands as a profoundly significant undertaking. Despite generations of agricultural labour on these lands, individuals lacked rightful ownership.

Across all ethnicities, countless individuals have contributed to our agricultural sector, yet remained devoid of land rights.

During the tenure of the good governance government, when I proposed legislation to address this issue, legal challenges arose. As President, I possessed the authority to allocate land. Without enacting new laws, I endeavoured to grant free land rights to our citizens under the existing legal framework, akin to how land was historically acquired by others without resorting to legal battles.

These lands represent your heritage—those which have sustained agricultural endeavours for two or three generations are now rightfully yours. In essence, this marks the most extensive privatization effort in our country’s history. Throughout South Asia, this type of program is solely implemented within our country.

Ordinarily, land rights are only secured through upheaval and strife, yet we have achieved this milestone without the need for revolution. Moreover, we have paved the path for the public’s advancement, affording them the opportunity to bestow land upon their children.

Amidst a four-year ordeal stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and economic turmoil, the people of our country endured silently. Now, as the economy rebounds, it is imperative to propel its growth swiftly, ensuring the benefits reach beyond a select few. Your bestowed land rights are intended to facilitate agrarian modernization, fostering progress.

Additionally, the government has initiated relief measures to alleviate the hardships endured by the populace.

“Aswasuma” beneficiaries will now receive threefold the benefits of Samurdhi, with the number of beneficiaries increasing from 800, 000 to 2.4 million.

Furthermore, in celebration of the Sinhala Tamil New Year and Vesak festival, 10 kilograms of rice will be provided to individuals with low incomes.

Despite fiscal constraints during a period of national development, the government has extended these benefits to the people, even amidst financial challenges. Plans are underway to alleviate the country from bankruptcy by the end of this year, with discussions already underway with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). I aim to formalize these measures through legislation, with the relevant bill already submitted to Parliament.

Our objective is to transition the country’s economy into one focused on exports, fostering competitiveness. To achieve this goal, I urge everyone to support the passage of the Economic Transformation Law in Parliament.

Over the past few days, I have been staying in the Northern Province for the inauguration of several hospitals. During the Good Governance administration, funds were allocated for the establishment of the Faculty of Medicine in Jaffna, along with the construction of a new building. Additionally, plans were set to commence the operation of four health units with assistance from the Dutch government. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic crisis, progress was stalled for four years. However, those projects have now been completed, and the opportunity to inaugurate them has arisen.

I have unveiled the new building of Jaffna University and, just last March, we celebrated the opening of the new health centre in Point Pedro. Yesterday, another health unit was inaugurated in Kilinochchi, and today, we are opening health units in Vavuniya and Mankulam. With these additions, the Northern Province is poised to have access to a top level healthcare system.

Furthermore, we have recently made the decision to elevate Jaffna Hospital to the status of a national hospital.

Additionally, I have directed the governor and the provincial chief secretary to formulate plans for the enhancement of Vavuniya Hospital into a main hospital. Following this upgrade, it will transition into a teaching hospital, paving the way for the establishment of a medical faculty at Vavuniya University.

Let us all come together and propel the Northern Province towards rapid development. We invite everyone to join us, recognizing that the time is ripe for such endeavours.

State Minister Kader Masthan;

The communities in these regions have grappled with numerous challenges, with land issues emerging as a pressing concern. Today, the President has presented solutions to address this issue. Consequently, initiatives have been launched to grant land to 600 individuals.

Plans are in place to distribute land deeds to 18,000 people in the Mullaitivu district in the future.

During times of adversity, when no one stepped forward to shoulder the responsibility for the country, Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe emerged as a beacon of leadership. He assumed the mantle of guiding the nation and diligently worked towards bolstering the country’s economy. President Ranil Wickremesinghe is only leader capable of navigating the country’s path forward.

Parliamentarian S. Noharathalingam,

During the final stages of the war, the displaced people of Keppapilau have yet to return to their villages. I urge the President to initiate measures for their resettlement on their own land. Additionally, it is imperative to enhance healthcare services, including hospitals, in this district. I respectfully request the President to convene a special meeting of the district development committee to address the issues faced by the people of the district and provide effective solutions.

Parliamentarian Selvam Adaikalanathan,

I am pleased that the President has visited the war-torn district of Mullaitivu. However, there remain several other pressing issues in this district, including the plight of numerous landless individuals who are unable to return to their villages. We trust that the President possesses the capability to address these challenges and offer solutions to the people’s concerns.

Governor of Northern Province P.S.M. Charles,

Yesterday, appointments were granted for 376 graduate teachers designated for the Northern Province, where they will commence their duties. Additionally, the Cabinet has approved the appointment of an additional 566 teachers.
The Mallavi water supply project commenced recently, stands as a testament to the President’s commitment to infrastructure development, even amidst economic challenges. Furthermore, the President has outlined plans to transform Jaffna into an appealing tourist destination.

In a significant move, the Wildlife Department has sanctioned the release of 50,000 acres of land acquired since 1985. This underscores the President’s consistent dedication to addressing the concerns of the populace and providing tangible solutions.

Parliamentarian K. Dhileeban,

No any previous president has stepped forward to address the challenges confronting the people of this area. The President declared the release of lands held by the Department of Forest Conservation since 1985, and he has fulfilled that pledge.

Particularly in Mannar, Vavuniya, and Mullaitivu districts, thousands of acres of land have been restored to their rightful owners. Among these districts, Mullaitivu suffered the most during the war. The President has initiated a program to provide free land deeds to the residents of Mullaitivu district. President Ranil Wickremesinghe has made significant strides in improving the lives of the public in a relatively brief period.

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