41 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in Tamil Nadu, India are arriving Sri Lanka on 19th January 2016 Under the UNHCR facilitated voluntary repatriation programme.
They are scheduled to arrive through Mihin Lanka (MJ 308) at 10.25a.m from Madurai and MJ 130 at 12.20 a.m from Chennai.
D.M.Swaminathan, 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 from 40kg to 60 kg per person with assistance of the Ministry of Public Enterprise Development and Mihin Lanka air Lines Mr.V.Sivagnanasothy, Secretary, Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs confirmed that of the 41 refugee returnees 15 are males and 26 are females. These refugee returnees will get back to Trincomalee, Jaffna, Mannar, Kilinochchi, 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.
In 2015, already 429 refugees 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 put up a Cabinet paper seeking financial support to provide livelihood assistance to the refugee returnees which has now been referred to the national planning authorities to consider with the comprehensive project proposal.
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 V.Sivagnansothy informed that, the refugees who lost their houses will be provided with houses under the 65,000 housing programme of the Ministry.
The Government of Sri Lanka 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. (Asian Tribune)