Another group of 76 Sri Lankan refugees to return from Tamil Nadu

secretary-photoAnother group of 76 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in Tamil Nadu, India are scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka under the UNHCR facilitated voluntary repatriation programme.

The refugees will arrive in two batches on Thursday September 29, one consisting 41 persons and the other 35 persons.

Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs D.M. Swaminathan had a discussion with the UN refuges agency UNHCR and facilitated the process and increased the baggage allowance per person.

Secretary to the Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs V. Sivagnanasothy said that of the 76 refugee returnees 41 are males and 35 are females. These refugee returnees will get back to Vavuniya, Mannar, Matale, Mullaitivu, Trincomalee and Jaffna.

The UNHCR will 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, the Government says 5035 refugees (1833 Families) have returned to Sri Lanka. Over 64,000 are stationed in 109 welfare camps in India. Over 100,000 refugees are currently in India.

Swaminathan initiated a cabinet paper on which livelihood assistance of a maximum Rs. 100,000 is provided to support the livelihood activities of the refugees.

Further, the provision of dry ration has already been approved for six months. Sivagnansothy said that the refugees who lost their houses will be provided with houses under the housing programme of the Ministry.

Sivagnanasothy said the government of Sri Lanka under the leadership of 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. (Colombo Gazette)