Sunday, January 9, 2011

Resettlement Still Ongoing

Sunday Leader, By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema 

Over 80,000 persons are yet to be resettled by the government in the Northern Province. According to the Resettlement Ministry, while there are 18,000 persons remaining in the Menik Farm welfare center, there are 72,000 persons who are currently residing with relatives in the North. Deputy Resettlement Minister Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan told The Sunday Leader that the 72,000 persons who are to be resettled are those whose houses are located in the high security zones (HSZs) in Jaffna.

“The 18,000 persons still living in Menik Farm are from areas where the final stages of the battle took place in the Mullaitivu District. The area is heavily mined. These people can return to their homes once the de-mining operation is completed,” he said.
However, the Deputy Minister said he was unable to give an exact time frame as to when the resettlement of the persons in Mullaitivu and the HSZs would take place. Muralitharan noted that following several rounds of discussions with the Defence Ministry, a decision has been arrived at to release three villages that are currently within HSZs in Jaffna.
“Several thousands of people will be able to return to their homes in the Jaffna District once the villages are released,” he said.
The government has decided to assist the persons displaced due to HSZs to return to their homes. “Most of these people already have houses in the HSZs, so they will be provided with assistance to repair their houses,” Muralitharan said.
Meanwhile, the Resettlement Ministry is also engaged in the resettlement of over 50,000 Muslim IDPs currently residing in the Puttalam District. “The thousands of Muslims who were displaced after they were evicted from the North by the LTTE can now return to their home towns if they wish to and the government will assist them,” Muralitharan said.

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