Aug 08, Colombo: Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said in parliament today that the government will provide the necessary facilities to the Sri Lankan refugees arriving from Tamil Nadu.
He said the Indian government has informed that 3,815 Sri Lankan refugees living in refugee camps in Tamil Nadu have expressed their willingness to come back to Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Resettlement, Rehabilitation, Hindu Religious Affairs and Northern Development is taking steps to provide them with necessary facilities.
The Ministry is working on providing permanent land, housing, livelihood assistance and facilities to continue education without interruptions, the Premier said.
The Prime Minister was responding to a question raised by Member of Parliament Charles Nirmalanadan in Parliament today (8th) regarding the Tamil people who left the country for India due to the war.
From year 2010, 9,509 Sri Lankan refugees have voluntarily returned Sri Lanka under the patronage of the United Nations Refugee Organization (UNHCR). They have been provided with air fare and several allowances.
The allowances given for the returning refugees include an allowance of Rs 10,000 per person over 18 years and Rs. 7,500 for a person under the age of 18 for reintegration, Transport allowance of Rs. 2,500 per person, personal allowance of Rs. 5,000 per person and Rs. 5,000 allowance for family on arrival.
Also, after their arrival each family has been given Rs. 28,000 for temporary housing and equipment when they register with the Divisional Secretariat.
Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka has provided all the information of the refugees who wish to return to Sri Lanka to the Ministry of External Affairs.
Since the refugees need to bring their belongings arrangements have been made to provide transportation by ships and the Government of India has agreed to provide shipping facilities for this purpose.
The Sri Lankan refugees currently living in Tamil Nadu are being assisted through the Sri Lankan High Commission in Chennai to obtain the necessary documents including birth certificates for children born in India, citizenship certificates and passports.
Since some of the refugees cannot afford the fees for the Consular Birth Certificates, the relevant gazette notification has been amended to exempt them from paying the fees, the Premier informed.