Around 140 Bru families from Naisingpara relief camp in neighbouring North Tripura district returned to Mizoram today as the third phase of repatriation of Bru refugees finally began.

According to H Sangawia, SP of Mizoram -Tripura border Mamit district, some of the families, proposed to be resettled in Damparengpui and Tuipuibari villages in Mamit district came directly to the two villages without first going to the transit camp.

The rest of the repatriated refugees would be first lodged at the transit camp from where they would be brought to the villages where they would be resettled, he said.

Refugees from Naisingpara, the largest relief camp, were brought back first as a devastating fire ravaged the camp on March 19, killing 17 people and gutted more than 3,000 houses.

“We decided to start with the Naisingpara camp so that their houses need not be reconstructed and the refugees can construct their houses in the Mizoram villages where they would be resettled with Rs 80,000 to be disbursed to each family,” one official said, adding that Rs 9. 97 crore had been allocated by the Centre as repatriation expenses.

Mizoram government had earlier decided to resume the repatriation from April eight when 4,490 refugees belonging to 890 families would be brought back from Tripura and resettled in 22 villages in Mamit district.

However, the repatriation process failed to take off due to complaints from the Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF), which asked for more time on preparations.

As planned earlier, the third phase of repatriation was expected to be completed by May six.