Another 30 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in Tamil Nadu, India will arrive in Sri Lanka under the UNHCR facilitated voluntary repatriation programme, the Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs.
The 30 refugees from 11 families are scheduled to arrive through Sri Lankan Airlines (MJ 308) next Tuesday from Madurai.
The Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs D.M.Swaminathan 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.
V. Sivagnanasothy, Secretary, Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs said that of the 30 refugee returnees 13 are males and 17 are females. These refugee returnees will get back to Mullaitivu, Vavuniya, Mannar and Trincomalee.
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 5110 refugees (1863 Families) have returned to Sri Lanka said the Ministry Secretary V.Sivagnanasothy. Over 64,000 are stationed in 109 welfare camps in India.
Over 100,000 Sri Lankan refugees are currently in India. Minister Swaminathan 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 already been 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 family members and for injuries.
Sivagnanasothy said that the refugees who lost their houses will be provided with houses under the housing programme of the Ministry.
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 Government says the current trend of increased refugee returnees is a sign of reconciliation and moving towards permanent peace. (Colombo Gazette)