India launched its housing project for the resettled families in the Eastern Province yesterday.
The event took place at three different locations in Batticaloa district with the participation of the outgoing High Commissioner of India Ashok K. Kantha and Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa to distribute certificates to some of the selected beneficiaries, the Indian High Commission in Colombo said.
A total of 4,000 housing units are expected to be constructed in Eastern Province under the Indian Housing Project.
The Indian Housing Project aims to support resettlement and rehabilitation of IDPs in Northern and Eastern Provinces and the Government of India has committed to build 50,000 houses for the resettled families.
High Commissioner Kantha addressing the event reiterated the importance attached by India to support initiatives for early resettlement of displaced persons in Northern and Eastern Provinces and providing opportunities to enhance their livelihoods.
The entire Project is fully funded by the Indian government with a total outlay of Rs. 30.6 billion (approx. US$ 270 million) making it one of the largest grant assistance projects implemented by the Indian government outside India.
A Pilot Project under the agency-driven model involving construction of 1,000 houses, launched in April 2011 was successfully completed in July 2012.
In the second phase, which is currently underway, the project will complete the construction of 43,000 houses in the two provinces. The second phase of the Indian Housing Project adopts an owner-driven methodology, under which owner-beneficiaries are involved in the process of construction. A cash grant of Rs. 550,000 is being provided for construction of a new house in installments linked to progress in construction. A cash grant of up to Rs. 250,000 will be provided for repair of a housing unit based on actual assessment of damage.
In the third phase of the Housing project, which is to start soon, about 2,000 houses will be directly built by construction agencies for people from most vulnerable sections of IDPs in the Northern and Eastern provinces who are unable to build their own houses. An additional 4,000 houses for workers in tea estates in the Central and Uva Provinces will also be built under this phase. The High Commissioner assured that the target of completion of all the 50,000 houses to be constructed under the Project would be achieved within three years.
Speaking at the occasion, Minister Rajapaksa 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 the Indian government's assistance in supporting the return of normalcy in the Province.
The Indian Housing Project is being carried out in close consultation with and cooperation of the Sri Lankan government. The two governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding covering various aspects of project implementation on 17 January 2012.