Reports from two District Collectors in India revealed the inhuman conditions Sri Lankan refugees lived in.
Reports submitted by the Wayanad district (Kerala) collector and the Mananthavady sub collector to Justice S H Panchapakesan based on a visit to the Kambamala colony near Mananthavady revealed the shocking inadequacies.
Times Of India (TOI) carried a report on the wretched living conditions of the colony residents, who are Tamil refugee families from Sri Lanka who had been rehabilitated in the tea plantation.
The Mananthavady Sub Collector Sreeram Sambasiva Rao in his report said that the families in the colony were living in very miserable conditions. "94 houses have crumbling toilets. Even basic facilities like water and other essential requirements are inadequate. Many estate workers are suffering from serious diseases like cancer," the report said adding that the residents could not avail the benefits of the welfare programmes as they don't have caste certificate and Below Poverty Line (BPL) ration cards.
The sub collector said that he had issued directions to the concerned authorities for the development of basic infrastructure in the colony and setting up toilets apart from issuing BPL ration cards to the families. Also, directions have been issued to provide assistance to the needy under the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF), he said.
The enquiry report by the district social justice officer said that two women who have been diagnosed with cancer have not started treatment and are still working in the estate. Also there are two bed ridden patients in the colony. "Even the education of the children is affected as they cannot go to the Anganwadi during monsoon as there is no bridge over a nearby river. It is also learnt that some families have sent their children away to Gudallur in Tamil Nadu as they have to trek 2 km through dense forests to reach the nearest primary school and 5 km to reach the high school," the report by the officer said.
Prof. Varughese Mathew, director of the NGO, Movement for Tribal Heritage and Environmental Research, said that it is unfortunate that the country's promise to rehabilitate the Tamil refugee families are yet to be implemented even after three decades.(TOI)