Sri Lanka Navy Friday handed over a 177-acre extent of land previously occupied by a naval base in Sampur to its legitimate owners.
On a directive by President Maithripala Sirisena, steps have been taken to hand over the land deeds in Northern and Eastern provinces which were held under the control of Government security forces to their original owners.
At a ceremony held in Sampur on Friday (25), the Navy officially handed over the 177 acres of land to the Governor of the Eastern Province Austin Fernando to be redistributed among the original owners.
The naval base, which was declared open in 2007 as a naval training centre in Sampur was later commissioned as SLNS Vidura in 2013. President Sirisena handed over 60 out of 237 acres of the land, which belonged to SLNS Vidura earlier, to its original owners in August last year and the remaining 177 acres were returned yesterday.
The Sampur naval base has been shifted to a new area nearby. The Navy has also released the Sampur Madya Maha Vidyalaya premises.
The Navy has also refurbished the old Sampur Maha Vidyalaya and Hindu Kovil which were stationed in the land.
The Sri Lankan government plans to commence the next phase of the resettlement of Internally Displaced persons (IDPs) in the Eastern Province from Sampur on 1 April.
Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan, Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs D. M. Swaminathan, Secretary to the Ministry of Defense Karunasena Hettiarachchi, Commander of the Navy Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne, Chief Minister of the Eastern Province Z. A. Nazeer Ahamed, Ministers of the Eastern Provincial Council, the Divisional Secretariat of Muttur and a large number of government officials took part in the event.