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Permanent houses for refugees

A.V.Ragunathan
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They were built at the cost ofRs 1.05 crore at Kattumannarkoil

Collector Rajendra Ratnoo handing over keys of a permanent house to a Sri Lankan Tamil refugee at Kattumannarkoil camp in Cuddalore district on Monday.— Photo: C.Venkatachalapathy
Collector Rajendra Ratnoo handing over keys of a permanent house to a Sri Lankan Tamil refugee at Kattumannarkoil camp in Cuddalore district on Monday.— Photo: C.Venkatachalapathy

Seventy-five Sri Lankan Tamil refugee families in Kattumannarkoil camp have now got permanent houses thanks to the initiative taken by the Pondicherry Multipurpose Social Service Society (PMSSS).

At a function held near the camp on Sunday, Collector Rajendra Ratnoo handed over keys of the houses to the beneficiaries. He said that while the Agricultural Marketing Committee had provided land, the PMSSS had constructed the houses.

It was heartening to note that a resident of the camp had joined a medical course. Mr. Ratnoo underscored the point that the State government had been extending benefits of all welfare schemes, including old age pension, to residents of the refugee camps located at Kattumannarkoil, Kurinjipadi, Ambalavananpettai and Vriddhachalam in Cuddalore district.

It had also made special provisions for accommodating five students from the camps to each of the hostels run by the backward classes and the most backward classes departments.

Mr. Ratnoo told the residents that G. Anbuselvi, special tahsildar (rehabilitation), would make periodic visits to the camps to ascertain their requirements. Hence, they need not go anywhere to make representations, the Collector said.

Executive Director of the PMSSS V.Albert Thambidurai told The Hindu that with financial support from the Catholic Relief Services, his organisation had built 75 dwelling units at a total cost of Rs. 1.05 crore.

Each unit built on 180 sq. ft of land at a cost of Rs. 1.2 lakh comprises a hall and a kitchen. There are also common facilities such as toilets, water, streetlights and so on. Fr. Thambidurai further said the PMSSS had been doing service in the camp for the past 15 years such as giving vocational training, educational support and livelihood measures.

After the PMSSS had started working in the camp, wards of residents had made significant progress on the educational front. He also said the PMSSS had taken up the construction of 85 dwelling units at the Chinna Salem refugee camp in Villupuram district.

The proposal to provide permanent houses for the residents of the Kurinjipadi camp was also under consideration, Fr.Thambidurai said.

P. Lingam (48), a resident of the Kattumannarkoil camp, said the tenements built in the form of row houses would be suitable only for a small family but not for those having more than five members. Moreover, for want of staircase, the residents did not have access to the terrace, he said.

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