An internationally backed effort to rehabilitate over 10,000 LTTE cadres in government custody is on track with an ambitious plan to set up special rehabilitation facilities to allow families of the detained to live under one roof.
The first such facility is expected to be established in Zone 5 of Menik farm bordering the Malwattu Oya. The government intends to set up similar facilities in Trincomalee, Jaffna and Batticaloa as part of its overall plan to help ex-LTTE combatants resume civilian life.
Justice and Law Reforms Minister Milinda Moragoda told The Island that this would give ex-combatants an opportunity to undergo rehabilitation while living with their loved ones. He said the spouses and children would be given freedom of movement, though the detainees would have to abide by security measures in place to ensure the smooth functioning of the facilities.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and several other local and foreign donors are supporting the government initiative. To the credit of Moragoda, he had directly involved the All Ceylon Hindu Congress (ACHU) thereby giving confidence to the Tamil community and the Tamil Diaspora.
The minister said that their plan envisaged the setting up of pre-school and day care facilities as well as separate vocational and technical training facilities. He emphasised that the project was a confidence-building measure in a post-LTTE era. He said that the rehabilitation project had achieved tremendous success less than a year after the end of the war last May.
The Justice Ministry is spearheading the rehabilitation effort with the support of the Army and several other ministries. In line with government strategy, a special facility is expected to be established in Vavuniya to accommodate married ex-LTTE combatants. The government plans to move 142 LTTE couples and eight single mothers with 11 children to the proposed facility. At the moment, they are being held in different detention facilities.
A military official told The Island that separate vocational and technical training facilities would be made available at the special facility for LTTE couples.
The government is also in the process of finalising plans to launch a dairy farming project at Suriyawewa in the Alle-Kantale area for the benefit of about 500 ex-LTTE combatants. The Sri Lanka Army and Ceylon Cold Stores are expected to implement this project with the latter making a substantial investment. The military official said that about 1,800 farmers would be hired as regular suppliers of milk. According to him, they were in the process of acquiring additional government land needed for the project in addition to land belonging to the Sri Lanka Army.
One of the most important aspects of the government initiative is to set up agricultural/livestock farms at Kandalkadu, Thrikonamadu which would be vested with the Sri Lanka Army and Air Force. There would be six separate farms with each capable of accommodating 500 ex-LTTE combatants each, sources said, adding that about 11,000 acres would be allocated for this project.