The State government on Tuesday said that any meeting to discuss voluntary repatriation of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees was premature and should be deferred in view of the prevailing atmosphere of fear and intimidation, the presence of the Army in Tamil areas, non-settlement of internally displaced people and absence of any concrete and credible measures taken by the Sri Lankan government.
In his address to the Assembly, Governor K. Rosaiah said the government was committed to the peaceful, just and honourable resettlement of the refugees. “But it is of the view that voluntary repatriation can be countenanced only after proper rehabilitation of the internally displaced Sri Lankan Tamils,” he said. He stressed that a congenial atmosphere for the return of the refugees could be achieved only by fully restoring the autonomy and democratic rights of Tamil minorities, besides sufficient economic and political measures.
While appreciating the efforts taken by the State government to secure the release of five fishermen, who were sentenced to death in Sri Lanka, the Governor said a permanent solution to the attack on Tamil fishermen could be possible only by restoring India’s sovereignty over Katchatheevu. Announcing that the Metro rail project between Koyambedu and Alandur would be inaugurated soon, Mr. Rosaiah demanded an early clearance from the Centre to extend the project from Washermenpet to Tiruvottiyur. Seeking increased role for the States in development and in nation-building, as well as greater fiscal autonomy, he expressed the hope that the new institution, NITI Aayog, would foster the spirit of cooperative federalism with the active participation of all Chief Ministers in its governing council.
He lauded the State government for achieving highest grain production and record production of pulses and winning the Centre’s Krishi Karman award.