COLOMBO, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- More Sri Lankan refugees who fled during a 30 year war, are set to return to the country from southern India, a government official said on Wednesday.
According to government statistics, since 2011, a total of 5,165 refugees, consisting of 1,882 families, have returned to Sri Lanka.
Another 40 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in Tamil Nadu, India will return to Sri Lanka on Thursday under a UN facilitated voluntary repatriation programme.
V. Sivagnanasothy, Secretary, Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs says the government initiated action to encourage the voluntary refugee returnee programme and the current trend of increased refugee returnees is a sign of reconciliation and moving towards permanent peace.
Sivagnanasothy said that of the 40 refugee returnees 22 are males and 18 are females. These refugee returnees will get back to their homes in the north and east of Sri Lanka.
The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, provides free air tickets, reintegration allowance of 75 U.S. dollars per person, transport allowance 19 dollars per person and monitory non-food grant of 75 dollars per family.
Sivagnanasothy said that, the refugees who lost their houses will be provided houses under a housing programme of the ministry.
He also said that D.M. Swaminathan, the Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs had a discussion with the UNHCR and facilitated the process and increased the baggage allowance per person.