Friday, December 2, 2011

Sr Lanka News: India builds 49,000 houses for Sr Lanka's displaced.

India to begin the second phase of building houses for Sri Lanka's displaced Tamils

Fri, Dec 2, 2011, 02:21 pm SL Time, 
ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.
Dec 02, Colombo: The Union Cabinet of the Government of India yesterday (01) has approved the central government's proposal to reconstruct and repair 49,000 houses for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Northern and Eastern Provinces and for Indian Origin Tamils (IOTs) in Sri Lanka under grant assistance from the Government of India.

Indian High Commission in Colombo said in a statement that the project will be under full grant assistance of the Government of India with a total outlay of Rs. 29.4 billion (approximately US $ 260 million or INR 13.19 billion).

The Project will primarily be implemented under the owner-driven model wherein the beneficiaries will undertake the reconstruction of their houses with necessary technical assistance and support provided to them.

The High Commission of India will directly release funds into their bank accounts based on certification of progress of work. It may be mentioned that preferences of beneficiaries on the ground as well as the project objectives of contributing to livelihood activities require following an owner-driven approach where the beneficiary is closely involved with and participates in the process of construction.

While bulk of the housing units will be implemented under this model, houses for people from vulnerable sections, who are unable to build their own houses, like households headed by single women, disabled, elderly people etc., will be built by construction agencies.

The Project will include three components. Under the owner-driven model for IDPs 38,000 houses will be constructed while 5,000 houses will be repaired. Another 6,000 houses will be constructed by agencies for vulnerable sections of IDPs in the Northern and Eastern provinces and for IOTs in the Central and Uva Provinces.

The Project will be carried out in close consultation with and cooperation of the Sri Lankan government. The selection of beneficiaries for the Project will be done through a transparent, norm-based process and based on clearly defined and objective criteria. Necessary discussions on various aspects have been held with the government. A Memorandum of Understanding to ensure smooth execution of the Project is expected to be signed shortly.

The construction of 49,000 houses for resettlement and rehabilitation of IDPs in Sri Lanka is part of the overall commitment to build 50,000 houses announced by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh during President Mahinda Rajapaksa's State visit to India in June 2010. This commitment also formed a part of the Joint Declaration issued in New Delhi on June 9, 2010.

In order to ensure early operationalization of this commitment, a pilot project for the construction of 1,000 houses in the five districts of Northern Province was launched with the signing of the agreement in this regard during the visit of Minister of External Affairs S.M. Krishna to Sri Lanka in November 2010. The project is presently underway and handing over of houses to beneficiaries will commence soon. The pilot project, which has an outlay of Rs. 1.2 billion (approximately US$ 10.1 million or INR 520 million), is also under grant assistance of the Government of India.

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