Yasaratne Gamage | In Mannar
‘The resettlement of IDPs in the North will be accomplished 100 percent by mid-August this year. All welfare camps in the North will be shut down, Defence and Urban Development Ministry Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said.
Speaking after opening the Army reconstructed two storeyed orphanage ‘Blessed Virgin’s Children’s Home’ at Kaththankulam, Mannar on Saturday, he said: “The resettlement in the North was to be completed by the end of July, but heavily mined Pudukudiuruppu cost us some extra time.
“The rest of the IDPs in welfare camps will be resettled in two weeks.
“The government has succeeded in bringing normality and stability to the North within just three years after a 30 – year- conflict.” The children’s home destroyed twice by the LTTE in 2005 was reconstructed and refurbished by the Army with financial assistance from well-wishers and social workers in Malaysia.
The Defence Secretary explained how the government and the military took maximum effort to accommodate IDPs who fled to the then LTTE controlled areas, even with pressure from international organisations who gave a wrong impression of the well- organised and easy to live welfare camps, stating the government was permanently accommodating IDPs in camps.
“But within three years, the displaced are returning due to the government’s timely and wise administration,” the Defence Secretary said.
Defence Secretary Rajapaksa said vast development projects have been initiated in the North and East including the A9, rail track, electrification, construction and developments in the irrigation systems and most of all a peaceful environment to live.
He gave a brief description of the government’s efforts in resettlement and reintegration of the rehabilitated former cadres and how the process helped them to start new lives.
“President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the government genuinely wanted to provide a long lasting solution to the problems of the people in North and East. This has been proved on many occasions,” the Defence Secretary said.
A large number of expatriates have returned to the motherland after peace was established, he said.
“Sri Lanka today is a stable and secure country. All Sri Lankans irrespective of ethnicity, religion , caste , political affiliations should unite in harmony to bring a bright future to their children,” the Defence Secretary said.
Mannar Bishop Rt Rev Dr Rayappu Joseph, Army Commander Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya, Security Forces Vanni Commander Major General Sumedha Perera, Mannar Government Agent Sarath Ravindra, Malaysian representatives , clergy and security personnel were present.
The Blessed Virgin’s Children’s Home was built at a cost of Rs 5.9 million saving Rs 1.1 million against the estimated cost for exclusive purchase of furniture for the project.
The orphanage will house more than 50 girls (six to 20 years) from parentless, single parented , orphaned or those who are in extremely difficult financial conditions in the Vanni. Currently, 20 girls from the Vanni are receiving care and education in the children’s home.
The destroyed orphanage was built with financial assistance from the Federation of Malyasian Sri Lankan Organisation, Sri Lanka Workers’ Welfare Society, Sri Lanka Musical Extravaganza and the Global Organisation for People of Indian origin based in Malayasia. The reconstruction project was carried out with the 54 division , specially the 25 Sinha regiment manpower which enabled the project to be completed in a short time at low cost. courtesy: Daily News