By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan
A staggering Rs 1,100 million has been allocated as the budget for the Bureau of the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation, for the year 2021, and that would also cover the de-radicalising of the suspects arrested in connection with the April 2019 Easter Sunday attacks.
Commissioner General Major General Dharshana Hettiarachchi told Ceylon Today, that around 300 who have been taken into custody after the Easter bombings would be sent for de-radicalising and some 20 Muslims scholars have been identified to support the de-radicalisation. They are Muslim religious scholars and academics from various universities of Sri Lanka, he added. He said the legal process is at the last stage and those who need to be rehabilitated will be sent to him. He said that currently they have been rehabilitating around 400 drug addicts and from 2015 they have rehabilitated around 7,500 of them. Due to the pandemic situation we have stopped taking any drug addicts but we have 400 drug addicts currently.
From the year 2015 to 20 June 2021 the budget allocation the Rehabilitation Bureau for drug addicts was Rs 3.8 billion (3,838,373,381.43) while the expenditure was at Rs 1.862 billion (1,862,191,099.12), this amount includes the ex-LTTE combatants (capital) expenditure including expenditure for the rehabilitated drug addicts).
There was no allocation for drug addicts before 2015 at it began only in 2015. Also, between 2018 and 20 June 2021 the post assistance expenditure to the drug addicts stands at approximately at Rs 4.32 million (4,329,457.80). “We want to use the drug addicts to work at a coconut plantation and we made a request to the Mahaweli Authority to allocate 1,000 acres in the Welikanda area in the Eastern Province.
Coconut, cashew plantation also herbal plantation is what we intend to do,” said the Commissioner General. They also intend to use these rehabilitated drug addicts and also seek foreign jobs for them.
“There are youth who were nabbed with a small amount of drugs and were sent for rehabilitation and it would be good to send them for overseas jobs he said. For overseas jobs we are working with the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment, he added. They also intend to hold drug awareness for schools and to explain the ill-effects of using it, he added. He also said compared to handling the ex-LTTE combatants handling the drug addicts was very difficult.