There are three voluntary repatriation movements – on Tuesday August 09, 2016 consisting 29 persons (7 families) scheduled to arrive through Mihin Lanka Airlines at 10.05 a.m and from Madurai and 31 persons (13 families) scheduled to arrive through Sri Lankan Airlines ) at 10.15 a.m. from Trichy and 15 persons (8 families) scheduled to arrive through Mihin Lanka Airlines at 12.20 p.m. from Chennai, Asian Tribune reported.
The Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs had a discussion with the UNHCR and facilitated the process and increased the baggage allowance per person with assistance of the Ministry of Public Enterprise Development, Mihin Lanka Airlines and Sri Lankan Airlines.
V.Sivagnanasothy, Secretary, Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs confirmed that of the 75 refugee returnees 43 are males and 32 are females. These refugee returnees will get back to Mannar, Jaffna, Vavuniya, Kilinochchi, Trincomalee and Mullaitivu.
Further, the UNHCR provides free air tickets, reintegration allowance of US$ 75 per person, transport allowance US$ 19 per person and monitory non-food grant of US$ 75 per family. Since 2011, already 4,870 refugees (1,770 Families) have returned to Sri Lanka said the Ministry Secretary Mr.V.Sivagnanasothy. Over 64,000 are stationed in 109 welfare camps in India. Totally, over 100,000 refugees are currently in India. D.M.Swaminathan, Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs initiated a Cabinet paper on which livelihood assistance of maximum Rs. 100,000 to refugee returnees is provided to support the livelihood activities.
Further, the provision of dry ration has been already approved for 6 months. The REPPIA has been instructed by the Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs to provide compensation for those who have lost their houses and suffered loss of lives of kiths and kins and for injuries. Ministry Secretary Mr. V.Sivagnansothy informed that, the refugees who loss their houses will be provided with houses under the housing programme of the Ministry. The Government of Sri Lanka under the leadership of the President Maithripala Sirisena has initiated action to encourage the voluntary refugee returnee programme on a phased out basis and the current trend of increased refugee returnees is a sign of reconciliation and moving towards permanent peace said the Ministry secretary. (Colombo Gazette)