Devananda elaborates repatriation plan for Lankan refugees in India
By Naalir Jamaldeen
Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda yesterday (30) stated that Sri Lankan refugees, currently living in refugee camps in Tamil Nadu, India can repatriate to their motherland at any moment and can live in their native places with dignity and respect.
This matter as well as illegal poaching by Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan waters was discussed with Sri Lankan Deputy High Commissioner D. K. Venkateshvaran (Chennai) during a meeting with Devananda at the Fisheries Ministry.
The minister clarified that the existing peace following the end of the war is ideal for the repatriation and resettlement of Sri Lankan refugees who have taken asylum in Tamil Nadu.
Minister Devananda said Venkateshvaran has brought to his attention that transport facilities including goods transportation will be provided free of charge to those who are to repatriate to the country. Under the first phase, each family will be given Rs. 30,000 and next year 7,000 families are expected to be repatriated.
In addition, houses are planned to be built for the repatriated families in their native places with the help of international and private organisations, according to the Fisheries Minister.
Devananda said all assistance to resettle in their own places and resume ordinary life will be provided by the Government to those willing to repatriate. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa are extending fullest support regarding this matter, he added.
He said that attention must be focused on Sri Lankan nationals detained in India for various causes and added that during his recent visit to Mullaitivu he met relatives of a few persons currently serving prison sentences India and discussed possible means of releasing them.