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Sunday, 7 October 2012

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Repair, construction of 43,000 houses on the cards:

Indian housing project - Phase II gets under way

The second phase of the Indian housing project for the construction and repair of 43,000 houses in the Northern and Eastern Provinces was launched last week by Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa and High Commissioner of India Ashok K. Kantha, in the presence of Minister Rishad Bathiudeen at Periyamadhu, Mallavi and Eluthumadduval in Mannar, Mullaitivu and Jaffna districts.

Minister Wimal Weerawansa graced the function at Periyamadhu and Minister Douglas Devananda graced the event at Eluthumadduval.

Minister Rajapaksa expressed his appreciation for the assistance provided by the Government of India towards rehabilitation and resettlement of displaced persons and for reconstruction and development of the Northern Province. He highlighted how the housing project was indicative of the phased, timely and sequenced manner of India's development assistance to Sri Lanka which has been based on requirements on the ground.

Minister Rajapaksa also pointed out that among donor-funded humanitarian assistance projects in Sri Lanka, the Indian housing project was unmatched and unprecedented in its scale, reach and impact.

He appreciated that the project was being implemented under an owner-driven model of construction where beneficiaries own and manage the reconstruction of their homes.

High Commissioner Kantha said the launch of the second phase taking place on October 2 is significant as the day is also the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The pilot phase of the project, the construction of 1,000 houses was completed successfully in July.

Kantha said 1,500 beneficiaries have been selected to receive assistance under this project in the first lot and funds have already been transferred for the first instalment of 100,000 into the bank accounts of beneficiaries and construction work would begin soon.

He said in consultation with the Government of Sri Lanka and the implementing agencies, the target of constructing 9,000 houses by August 2013 has been increased to 10,000 houses.

He also assured that the target of completion of all 50,000 houses to be constructed under Indian assistance would be completed within three years and the Government of India has already set aside funds for this purpose.

The second phase of the project adopts an owner-driven methodology, under which owner-beneficiaries are involved in the process of construction.

A cash grant Rs. 550,000 is being provided for the construction of a new house in instalments, linked to progress in construction. A cash grant of up to Rs. 250,000 will be provided for the repair of a housing unit based on the actual assessment of damage.

The Government of India had earlier, through a competitive process, selected four reputed implementing agencies, UN-Habitat, International Federation of Red Cross in partnership with Sri Lanka Red Cross, National Housing Development Agency of Sri Lanka and Habitat for Humanity to facilitate construction.

The third phase of the housing project is expected to commence before the end of this year. In this phase, about 2,000 houses will be directly built by construction agencies for the most vulnerable people in the Northern and Eastern Provinces who are unable to build their own houses and 4,000 houses for Indian-origin workers in tea estates in the Central and Uva Provinces. The process of selection of executing agencies for the construction of these houses is presently under way.

 

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