Tamil Nadu to spend Rs.100 crore on Sri Lankan refugees camps

Last Updated: Thu, Nov 12, 2009 17:00 hrs

The Tamil Nadu government Thursday decided to allocate Rs.100 crore for improving the amenities in the 115 camps for Sri Lankan refugees in the state and also for extending various welfare measures to them at par with Indian citizens.

The decision was taken at a state cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi at the secretariat here Thursday.

The state government has allocated around Rs.37 crore for repairs to dwellings and roads inside the camps and around Rs.9 crore for extending the healthcare scheme to the refugees, provision of free colour television sets, marriage assistance to women, free bus passes and other such things.

The cabinet decided to utilise the balance for building concrete houses for the refugees.

The DMK earlier demanded Indian citizenship for over 100,000 refugees living in the camps.

The decisions were taken on the basis of reports submitted by the ministers who earlier visited these camps to get a first hand information on the living conditions prevailing there.

On Oct 31, Karunanidhi asked the ministers to visit various camps and submit a report by Nov 10 when he announced Rs.12 crore additional funds for improving the amenities in these camps.

The report was submitted by Deputy Chief Minister M.K.Stalin Tuesday.

Soon after the DMK government assumed office in 2006, ministers visited and submitted a report on the refugee camps, which first came up in 1983.

Based on that report, the Tamil Nadu government sought Rs.16 crore assistance from the central government for these camps.

While the centre did not respond to the request since 2006, the state government allocated Rs.5 crore in its latest budget.

India has decided to give Rs. 1,000 crore to the Sri Lankan government for rehabilitation of Tamils displaced by the military campaign against the rebel Tamil Tigers, who were defeated in an armed conflict in May this year.

Sri Lankan Tamils have fled their country in large numbers since Tamil militancy erupted into insurgency over a quarter century ago. While many thousands live in India, many more have chosen the West to begin their lives anew.

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