Colombo, Sep 23 (IANS) Seventy-six Sri Lankan Tamil refugees currently residing in India are scheduled to return under a UN facilitated voluntary repatriation programme, authorities said on Friday.
The refugees will arrive on September 29 in two batches, Xinhua news agency reported.
Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs D.M. Swaminathan had a discussion with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to facilitate the process. He also increased the baggage allowance per person.
V. Sivagnanasothy, Secretary in the ministry, said the refugees would return to Vavuniya, Mannar, Mullaitivu, Trincomalee and Jaffna in the east and north of the island nation.
He said the refugees would be provided houses under the housing programme of the ministry.
Tens of thousands of Sri Lankan Tamils have taken shelter in India since the outbreak of the ethnic conflict in 1983. India and Sri Lanka are divided by a strip of sea.