A total of 3,04,269 Tamils have come to Tamil Nadu as refugees from Sri Lanka since 1983
Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on August 27 announced a slew of schemes at a cost of ₹317.40 crores for the welfare of the Sri Lankan Tamils living in various camps in the State. Mr. Stalin in a suo motu statement in the Assembly said as the houses in the camps were in bad shape, the government would construct 7,469 new houses at a cost of ₹231.54 crores. In the first phase, 3,520 houses would be constructed in the current year at a cost of ₹108.81 crores.
Besides, basic requirements including electricity, toilets and drinking water would be provided at a cost of ₹30 crores. The government is expected to launch Sri Lankan Tamils Lives Improvement Scheme with an allocation of ₹5 crores and the fund would be utilised for the purpose.
A total of 3,04,269 Tamils have come to Tamil Nadu as refugees from Sri Lanka since 1983 and 58,822 are in 108 refugee camps in 29 districts. A total of 34,087 persons are living outside the camps.
The Chief Minister said the government would fully meet the higher educational and hostel expenses of 50 Sri Lankan Tamils students in camps based on their marks. Similarly, it will also meet the educational and hostel fees of first five students of agriculture and agriculture engineering courses and all the postgraduate students. The government will allot ₹1 crore every year for the purpose.
Mr. Stalin said every year around 750 students from the camps join arts and science colleges and diploma courses and that the scholarship extended to them was not adequate.
He said scholarship for polytechnic students would go up from ₹2,500 to ₹10,000, the scholarship of undergraduate students of arts and science college from ₹3,000 to ₹12,000 and scholarship for undergraduate students of professional course would increse from ₹5,000 to Rs ₹20,000. The government will allot ₹1.25 crores towards the expenditure.
The Chief Minister also announced employment skill development programme for 5,000 youth in the camps at a cost of ₹10 crores.
Another initiative announced by him is that ₹25,000 each would be given to 300 self-help groups (SHGs) in the camps to improve their livelihood and launch small and medium industries. Moreover, 321 SHGs elected last year would get ₹75,000 in addition to ₹50,000 already allotted.
Mr. Stalin said the monthly cash dole to the head of the family in camps would be increased to ₹1,500 from ₹1,000. For other seniors it would be hiked to ₹1,000 from ₹750 and for the children it would go up to ₹500 from ₹ 400. It will cost the government an additional ₹21.49 crores.
The Chief Minister said as the kerosene allocation to the families in the camps were inadequate and they were not in a position to get gas connection under the Prime Minister Ujjala Scheme, the State government would give each family free LPG connection and a stove. It will cost the government ₹7 crores and the families would get ₹400 as subsidy for five LPG cylinders. The government will allot ₹3.80 crores every year for the purpose. The families will also get 20 kg free rice.
Mr. Stalin also increased to ₹3,473 crore from ₹1,790 towards supply of cloth and bedsheets through the Co-optex. Each family will also get steel utensils at a cost of ₹1,296 as ₹250 fixed by the Union Government was not adequate.
The Chief Minister also announced constitution of a committee to render appropriate help to Sri Lankan Tamils in camps and outside and to facilitiate permanent solutions such as citizenship and return to homeland. Minister for Minoriteis and Non-Resident Tamils Welfare, an MP, an MLA, public secretary and other officials are set to be the members of the committee.
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