Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The Indian High Commission in Colombo will oversee distribution of relief materials to the affected Sri Lankan Tamils through the Red Cross and the United Nations, External Affairs Ministry assured the State government on Monday.

Responding to a letter from the Chief Minister, the MEA spokesperson in a clarification to the State Chief Secretary said: “I write regarding the letter from Chief Minister, Tamil Nadu, to External Affairs Minister about the distribution of relief materials intended for Sri Lankan Tamils affected by the conflict in northern Sri Lanka. The factual situation is that these materials will be shipped to the High Commission in Colombo, which will arrange for their distribution in the affected areas through the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations.”

PMK criticism

Earlier, following criticism by the PMK organ, ‘Tamil Osai,’ and the apprehensions of AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa that the relief materials to be handed over to Sri Lanka would land in the hands of the LTTE, the Chief Minister had faxed letters to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the External Affairs Minister seeking a clarification on the modalities of distributing the aid purchased with the money collected in Tamil Nadu.

Mr.Karunanidhi advised people not to listen to those who were trying to prevent them from contributing to the fund for Sri Lankan Tamils.In a poem, he said that he was willing to sacrifice himself. “Let us give our heart and, if required, our lives too,” he said. A “brother known for jumping the gun” [MDMK general secretary Vaiko] had said that it will not reach the affected and an ‘Ammaiyar’ [referring to Ms.Jayalalithaa] had stated that it will go to the LTTE. “Let us not take them seriously.” More people contributed to the Sri Lankan Tamils Relief Fund on Monday taking the total contributions to about Rs.5 crore.

Tamil Nadu Governor S.S.Barnala, Tamil Nadu Film Producers Council, industrialist G.Veeramani, film producer A.V.M. Saravanan, actor Vadivelu, Prince of Arcot Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali, Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission chairman and members, Your Dreams Enterprises, Adambakkam, Tamil Nadu Cable TV Operators Welfare Sangam and Southern Railway Mazdoor Union were the contributors.

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