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Resettle civilians: Rajapaksa

[Hindu, Thursday, 27 May 2010 08:15 No Comment]

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has directed the authorities concerned to ensure resettlement of the remaining war displaced civilians, currently lodged in the government run relief camps in the north, within the next three months.

As per government statistics of the nearly three lakh Tamil civilians displaced during the war, two lakhs have been re-settled in their original places of habitation. The remaining though lodged in temporary camps have been provided with the facility to visit their relatives and friends.

A few weeks after the end of the war in May last year, the Rajapaksa government had promised to re-settle the entire displaced civilians within 180 days. However, the process has been delayed largely due to logistical problems involved in de-mining of the areas earlier under the control of the LTTE.

An announcement by the government here said Mr. Rajapaksa had ordered re-settlement of all Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) by end of August and closure of all welfare centres in the North.

It further said a family unit would be given Rs. 50,000, food items for six months and 20 roofing sheets. Earlier, the financial assistance was limited to Rs. 25,000 per family unit.

Plans are also under way to re-cultivate around 100,000 hectares paddy land abandoned for a long time due to the war situation in the North region.

Separately, at a meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki moon and other officials, Sri Lankan Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris has urged them to have faith in the Reconciliation Commission set up by the government and not to pre judge its possible out comes.

According to the Foreign Ministry Prof. Peiris, currently on a visit to the U.N. and the United States, told Mr. Ban Ki-moon that similar mechanisms had been found useful in other post conflict situations.

The appeal of the Minister to U.N. Secretary-General not to pre-judge the outcome of the Commission appointed by Mr. Rajapaksa assumes importance in the light of the desire by Mr. Ban Ki-moon to appoint a panel of experts to advice him on matters related to Sri Lanka and strong opposition to the idea expressed by Colombo.

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