13th January 2012, www.ft.lk, By Uditha Jayasinghe
Cabinet has approved a US$ 260 million grant from India to build 49,000 houses in the Northern, Eastern, Central and Uva Provinces of Sri Lanka.
The grant will be used for reconstruction and repair of severely and partly damaged houses belonging to Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in the Northern and Eastern Provinces.
The project will be implemented in three stages. In stage one reconstruction will be done by providing funds to the owner of the house. In the second stage the owner will be given money to repair his house and in the third mode an agency will build the house for the IDPs.
In the first stage around 38,000 houses are expected to be constructed with each house being given Rs. 550,000 in four tranches to the bank accounts of the owners.
Under the second stage about 5,000 houses will be repaired in the north and east with payment being released in three tranches.
Under the last mode 6,000 houses are to be reconstructed and about 4,000 of them will be for estate workers in the Central and Uva Provinces. The entire project will be implemented under the supervision of the Presidential Task Force for Resettlement and Economic Development Ministry.
Even though the Indian Government promised 50,000 houses initially, Cabinet Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told media that already around 1,000 houses have been built and this is the cover the rest of the pledge.
The Indian Government pledged to donate 50,000 houses for IDPs in 2009, but the execution has been delayed.
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