Land Grab

Battered victims of Sri Lanka’s tsunami, are facing another blow as the government draws up plans to grab their only remaining asset, the piece of valuable coastal land where they used to live. Battered victims of Sri Lanka’s tsunami, are facing another blow as the government draws up plans to grab their only remaining asset, the piece of valuable coastal land where they used to live. Displaced residents of Hambantota are already getting together to protest government moves to take away their land, on the pretext that coastal land is vulnerable to tsunamis.

“We want to re-build our houses in the same place we used to live,” says Mohammed Rilwan, of Hambantota, who speaks for an organization called Nivasa Ahimi Wuvange Sangamaya (Association of Persons who lost their Homes).

Ports Minister Mangala Samaraweera said at the last cabinet press briefing that the government may ban reconstruction up to 300 metres inland.

Land Minister Anura Kumara Dissanayake said at the same briefing that affected people would be resettled inland on government and other land acquired for the purpose.

Officials say Hambantota Town would also be shifted inland.

“They are going to shift u