Staff Reporter

``Refugees can choose anyone out of 106 camps in the State `'

RAMANATHAPURAM: The Mandapam refugee camp near here is fully equipped to accommodate more than 10,000 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees, according to V. Srinivasan, District Revenue Officer.

Elaborating the steps taken by the district administration to accommodate refugees at the camp, whose arrival in Dhanushkodi has been steadily increasing in the past two weeks, he told The Hindu here on Monday that the 100-hectare campus at Mandapam had already been cleaned up and repaired.

He said that out of 2027 houses at the camp, 207 had been given to 758 refugees, who had come to Tamil Nadu till 2003. The camp had so far received 148 new refugees, including 46 women and 53 children, belonging to 49 families, from Sri Lanka.

All were lodged in quarantine rooms for monitoring their behaviour and questioning. They would be allotted houses at the camp, depending on the feedback given by security agencies.

Mr. Srinivasan said that the refugees had been provided with vessels, blankets, bedsheets, two sets of dress and other items. After allotment of houses, each family would be given 20 kg of rice at the rate of 47 paise a kg. They were also eligible to receive sugar and kerosene. Besides these, adults and children would be given Rs.100 and Rs.45 each respectively once in 15 days.

He said that it was the liberty of refugees to choose anyone from 106 camps in Tamil Nadu. Camps at Thiruvannamalai, Salem, Dharmapuri, Pollachi and Erode were most preferred by refugees, owing to climatic condition and other reasons.

They were allowed to switch camps. However, they would not be allowed to go out of the camps without the permission of officials. Though their movements would be monitored daily, a roll-call was conducted once in 15 days, the DRO said.

Mr. Srinivasan said that they would also be provided free electricity and water at the camp. Besides, a hospital with three doctors and a Government Higher Secondary School were functioning at the Mandapam camp, he added.

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