At least 5,000 acres of private lands, which were taken over by the security forces since 1990, are still with the forces, according to a study, The Hindu newspaper reported.
These lands are part of the high security zones. Officials have declined to provide an exact figure of the extent of land that remains with the forces.
On March 23 and April 10 this year, 1,013 acres in the Northern Province were released and they covered parts of Palai Veemankamam and Varththalaivilan.
On the time frame for the release of the remaining lands, D.M. Swaminathan, Sri Lankan Minister for Resettlement, Reconstruction and Hindu Religious Affairs, said a meeting with President Maithripala Sirisena and the Army officials would take place in a few weeks in which a decision would be taken. He emphasised that the President, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga [who is heading Presidential Task Force on Reconciliation] were all keen on returning lands to legitimate owners.
When criticism arose in sections of the media, especially in social media, about the land release, Mr. Sirisena, in his address to the nation last month in connection with the completion of 100 days in office, strongly defended the decision.
On May 7, the President issued an order, revoking allocation of 818 acres in Sampur of the Eastern Province to the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka for industrial projects. The cancellation was done so that Tamils, displaced due to the Eelam War, could be resettled in the lands.