The delegation of Members of Parliament from Tamil Nadu, now on a visit here to assess the state of the internally displaced persons (IDPs), on Tuesday flew down to Hatton and Nuwara Eliya in the hill region of the island nation for an interaction with Indian-origin Sri Lankans working in the plantation sector.
Hosted by Sri Lankan Minister and leader of Ceylon Workers’ Congress (CWC) Arumugam Thondaman, the delegation first visited the Indian-assisted vocational education training institute at Hatton.
From there, the team visited a government-supported housing project for tea plantation workers.
The team members also discussed with plantation workers their working conditions and other issues.
Mr. Thondaman is hosting a dinner in honour of the visiting delegation and the MPs are expected to return to Colombo on Wednesday morning.
On Monday, the delegation, comprising of 10 members, visited Jaffna and the Menik Farm IDP Camps in Vavuniya, where most of those displaced in the war are put up.
According to sources, the people with whom the team members interacted outside the Jaffna Library talked about the difficulties faced by fisherfolk due to constant poaching by Indian fisherfolk in the territorial waters of Sri Lanka.
“One member of the public stated that a number of issues were swept under the carpet in the name of development. He urged that action be taken immediately to ensure that normality returned to the island nation. Another member of the public wanted restrictions in the High Security Zone in the peninsula removed.”
Leader of the delegation T.R. Baalu told them that the team was there on the instructions of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi in consultation with the Union government and that it would visit the IDP camps and urge the government of Sri Lanka to expedite the resettlement process.
Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi reportedly said the team would extend assistance through the government of India to the Sri Lankan Tamils to help them to live with equal and legitimate rights.
Students of Jaffna University, in their interaction, suggested that India consider allocating some seats in universities for Sri Lankan students, especially in the fields of medicine and engineering.
Mr. Baalu said the Sri Lankan Education Ministry should submit proposals to the appropriate channels for the consideration of the Indian government.