In what has become a significant upliftment of their lives, the Sri Lankan Tamil refugees living in the Dindigul district of Tamil Nadu have got a new sheltering scheme with several facilities that are expected to augment their standard of living. The special scheme was unveiled by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Wednesday - September 14 and over 321 families from various camps in the district will be shifted to the new housing facilities.
The construction of the camp commenced eight months ago and it was built at a cost of Rs 17.84 crore at Thottanuthu in Dindigul. On Wednesday, the Chief Minister virtually inaugurated the camp and the event that was held in Chennai had the presence of Cooperation Minister I Periyasamy, Food and Civil Supplies Minister R Sakkarapani, Minorities Welfare, Non-Resident Tamils Welfare, and Refugees Minister KS Masthan, and Dindigul Collector S Visakan.
The new camp has various facilities including a water tank, library, an anganwadi, children's park, community kitchen, and playground. This new camp has been constructed near the old camp that was functioning on rented land in Thottanuthu. Besides the families from the old camp, several families from the nearby camps in Adiyanuthu and Gopalpatti will also be moving to the new camp.
The new camp is stretching for 300 acres and would provide upliftment to a part of what remains a vast settlement across Tamil Nadu. The state has nearly 108 rehabilitation camps in 29 districts and the voices were rampant that these camps don't have basic facilities. The ruling DMK government has assured that the living condition of the Sri Lankan Tamil refugees would be improved under its rule.
In its election manifesto for the 2021 assembly polls, the DMK has promised many schemes to enhance the lives of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees. During the campaign trail, the DMK has also assured that after the elected to power, it would urge the Union government to include Sri Lanka in the list of countries under the Citizenship Amendment Act which would pave the way for such people, who are living as refugees for many years, to get Indian citizenship.
As part of its promise, the government has constructed a new camp which would ease the burden endured by over 300 families. The reports say that it is expected that the government will also construct similar camps across the state. It must be noted that in August last year, Chief Minister MK Stalin announced a Rs 317 crore welfare package for Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in the state and the package includes the construction of new houses.