The Sri Lankan government on Tuesday announced that about 41,685 persons from 12,000 families displaced by the Eelam War IV, currently housed in government-run relief camps in the north, would be resettled in their home areas from October 22.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa had assured a 10-member delegation of ruling-combine MPs from Tamil Nadu, which visited Sri Lanka from October 10 to 15, that 58,000 internally-displaced Tamils in camps would be sent back to their native places in 15 days.

The Resettlement and Rehabilitation Ministry said 8,643 persons from 2,583 families in Vavuniya, 6,631 displaced from 2,644 families in Mannar, 16,394 persons from 4,415 families in Mullaithivu and 10,017 people from 2,453 families from the Kilinochchi districts would be resettled.

The government further said that Mr. Rajapaksa had constituted an 11-member team comprising Ministers and parliamentarians to “accelerate the development and resettlement process” in the Jaffna district.

The task of the team is to identify the urgent problems and issues in the respective divisions and take measures to resolve them and uplift the living standards of the people.

At its first meeting in Jaffna presided over by Social Welfare Minister Douglas Devananda, Power Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said out of the 35,000 war displaced from Jaffna district, 17,000 had been re-settled in their original villages and steps would be taken to resettle the remaining persons soon.

Mr. Aluthgamage told the meeting that the people re-settled in Jaffna had requested that their relatives residing in Vavuniya welfare camps be sent back to live with them and added that steps would be taken to heed to their request.

Separately, at the inaugural ceremony of the longest bridge in Sri Lanka, Mr. Rajapaksa said the Eastern Province was witnessing massive development due the New Dawn in the East programme launched by the government and the establishment of the Provincial Council in May, 2008.

The Kinniya bridge in the Eastern Province links Trincomalee with Kinniya. It is 396 metres long and 10 metres wide. The bridge was built by the China Auto Caiec Ltd. with financial assistance from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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