BUREAU OF THE COMMISSIONER GENERAL OF REHABILITATION
"MINISTRY OF PRISON REFORMS,REHABILITATION, RESETTLEMENT AND HINDU RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS"

Ex-LTTE cadres get 3-wheelers

To kick-start a new life

A group of 23 ex-LTTE combatants, who had undergone the rehabilitation programme of the Ministry of Rehabilitation, received a huge boost to kick-start their new life last week, when Alliance Finance PLC facilitated their acquisition of three-wheelers without initial down payment and at reasonable rates payable in five years.

The Commissioner General of Rehabilitation, Brigadier Dharshana Hettiarachchi, said he had approached many companies seeking assistance for the rehabilitants, in order to provide them a sustainable livelihood support. “This is the first project of this nature, and Alliance Finance is the only company that volunteered to assist in this manner. I hope this initiative will assist the rehabilitants to rebuild their shattered lives and assist in the reconciliation process,” he said.

Historic moment

Addressing the gathering at the Alliance Finance office in Vavuniya, the Chief Operations Officer, Suresh Amarasekera, said it was a historic moment for his organization . “Brigadier Hettiarachchi asked us to help these rehabilitants in securing a sustainable source of income and we too were very keen to assist them and be part of this national endeavour. In this initial step, we are providing three-wheelers to 23 of these rehabilitants, while all together we plan to lease around 100 in the first phase of this programme. They will be exempt from having to pay the initial down payment and their repayment plan is spread over five years.

“In the initial stage these three-wheelers will be provided to rehabilitants in Jaffna, Killinochchi and Vavuniya areas as a means to assist them rebuild their lives. We sincerely hope this will help the rehabilitants rebuild their lives with their families,” he said, adding that they also had plans to provide more environmentally friendly vehicles to the rehabilitated persons in these areas in the near future.

Gas-converted 3-wheelers

“In the next stage, we hope to distribute gas converted three-wheelers with the aim of reducing environmental pollution. We hope to work together with the Commissioner Genereal for Rehabilitation and his department, for the betterment of rehabilitated ex cadres in the future as well,” Amarasekera said.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner General of Rehabilitation, Colonel W. P. W. Liyanage said over 11,000 ex combatants had successfully completed their rehabilitation process and had been reintegrated into society.

“Although we sought the assistance of many finance companies, Alliance Finance was the only company that agreed to provide the three-wheelers without a down payment. These people are just commencing their lives and are unable to deposit a large sum of money at once to lease a vehicle. Therefore this gesture was most welcome as it made the rehabilitant’s dream of obtaining a vehicle to sustain their livelihoods an achievable reality.

“After having heard that this group had received the three-wheelers we have been receiving many telephone calls from other rehabilitated cadres too, asking to be given the same opportunity. Therefore, I urge all rehabilitated persons to take good care of their newly obtained vehicles, and also make a firm commitment to pay their lease instalments on time. This will enable the others following them, to have the same opportunity,” he said, adding that over 600 other rehabilitated ex cadres had also applied for three-wheelers and are on the waiting list in the Killinochchi District alone.

Overjoyed

Mohandas Jayaseeli and her husband Mohandas Rasiah were overjoyed to receive their three-wheeler. “We are now confident that we will be able to make our lives better, by using this three-wheeler for hires,” she said. The couple has three children, but their eldest son went missing after the war. They live in Kopai, and Rasiah is employed as a bus driver, while engaging in masonry sometimes.

Jayaseeli and Rasiah were hopeful, that with the new start, they could finally rebuild their shattered lives and live in peace.

Phillip Reggie Rajeswaran, a father of two, who completed his rehabilitation and was reintegrated into society on 1 March 2011, said he worked as a carpenter as it was his inherited trade. “However, I followed the masonry course at the rehabilitation centre. This three-wheeler will assist me in my line of work to do the transporting of goods, and so forth. All this time I had to hire vehicles for transporting of materials for my carpentry work, and this certainly will be an asset. If I had to make a down payment to get this three-wheeler, it would have never been possible. Therefore, I am very grateful for having this opportunity,” he said.

Assists everyone

Rajeswaran who lives in Periyathampanai said they had no transportation facilities even to take a sick person to a hospital in an emergency. “Therefore, this three-wheeler will not only assist me but everyone in the village,” he said.

The three-wheelers were not only given to the male rehabilitants, but to females too. One such recipient is Renuka Selvanathan, a 27-year-old from Jaffna, who was reintegrated into society on 23 October in 2010. Renuka is unmarried and has younger siblings. “At the moment my brother is the one who will drive this three-wheeler. I plan to run hires with it and make a living. We have suffered a great deal because of the war and I am thankful that finally I am with my family and in a position to rebuild our lives,” she said, hopeful that having a three-wheeler would give her the opportunity to collecting some money in order to settle down some day and see to the future of her siblings as well.

By Camelia Nathaniel reporting from Vavuniya

Courtesy - Ceylon Today