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Indian envoy to Sri Lanka visits relief camps

[Hindu, Sunday, 21 March 2010 08:02 No Comment]

Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Ashok K. Kantha on Friday visited Vavuniya, Oddusudan and Mullaithivu for a first hand knowledge of the relief camps and the assistance being provided by India for the rehabilitation and re-settlement of the Tamil civilians in the war-ravaged northern province.

According to the Indian Mission here at Vavuniya, Mr. Kantha and Sri Lankan Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare Douglas Devananda inaugurated the limb refitment camp at Menik Farms Zone 1. Most of the displaced people are housed in camps in Menik Farms. About three lakh Tamil civilians were displaced due to the Eelam War IV, which ended in the last week of May.

The Mission said the limb refitment camp was funded by India and was being implemented by the Jaipur-based non-governmental organisation Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS), better known as the “Jaipur Foot.”

In Vavuniya, the BMVSS deputed a team of 19 experts who will provide artificial limbs to about 1,200 Sri Lankans who lost their limbs during years of conflict in Sri Lanka. The camp, which started on March 13, will continue for a month.

The Mission said the camp received enthusiastic response from the disabled internally displaced persons (IDPs). Mr. Kantha and Mr. Devananda saw the process of fitting artificial limbs and interacted with beneficiaries.

At Mullaithivu, Mr. Kantha handed over Galvanized Corrugated Sheets (GC sheets) and agriculture “Starter Packs” to the IDPs. The GC sheets will be used to construct shelters in the new areas of habitation.

India has so far supplied about 5,00,000 GC sheets at a cost of Sri Lankan Rs. 610 million. The first lot has already been distributed, benefitting about 20,000 families. The second lot is being distributed.

The agriculture “Starter Packs” include basic tools and implements to help the IDPs resume cultivation in their homesteads, and subsequently in the farmlands allocated to them. The Indian government is supplying 70,000 “Starter Packs” at a cost of about Sri Lankan Rs. 160 million.

Mr. Kantha also met local government officials in Vavuniya, Oddusudan, and Mullaithivu.

Keywords: Vavuniya, Sri Lanka, Indian High Commissioner, artifical limb, Ashok K. Kantha, IDP

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