'City of Trincomalee' to ferry refugees

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 21 March 2000, 23:20 GMT]
The privately owned passenger vessel 'City of Trincomalee' is to be used for transporting displaced Jaffna people from the Vanni region to north under the resettlement scheme. The expenses will be borne by the State. Refugees will not be charged any fee, according to a letter sent by the Commissioner General of Essential Services to Trincomalee Divisional Secretary.

Until last month, cargo vessel Lanka Muditha chartered by the Commissioner General of Essential Services for transporting food and other materials to the north, had also been used to ferry refugees and civilian passengers to and from Jaffna and Trincomalee. Refugees were transported free of charge, but civilian passengers were charged Rs: 600 per head.

The Commissioner General of Essential Services N.A.Obadage has now informed Trincomalee's Divisional Secretary to make arrangements to send 2500 displaced Jaffna refugees from Vanni region to Jaffna district by the vessel "City of Trincomalee". Each sailing will take 250 refugees.

The management of the vessel has agreed to transport 2500 displaced Jaffna refugees now staying at welfare centers at Vavuniya and Mannar to north. However the office of Commissioner General of Essential Services has agreed to pay Rs. 1000 per head to the management of the vessel for transporting refugees.

According to Commissioner General of Essential Services, the vessel "City of Trincomalee" is to arrive Trincomalee harbor today.

Trincomalee's Divisional Secretary has now alerted officials responsible for looking after the interests of displaced Jaffna refugees in Mannar and Vavuniya to be ready with lists of names of persons to be ferried from Trincomalee to Kankesanthurai, with the arrival of "City of Trincomalee".

In the meantime, uncertainty prevails whether the vessel " City of Trincomalee" will take civilian passengers to and from Trincomalee and Jaffna in addition to displaced persons from Vanni region.


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