Dec 31, Colombo: The second phase of the Indian Housing Project, involving the construction of 43,000 housing units for Internally Displaced Persons in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, has made significant progress by attaining the target of completing 10,000 new houses during 2013, the Indian High commission said in a release Tuesday.
Under the project being implemented in consultation with and the cooperation of the Government of Sri Lanka, 10,184 houses were completed in the Northern Province during 2013.
Out of the completed houses 1,832 were in Jaffna district, 3,090 houses in Kilinochchi district, 3,540 in Mullaitivu district, 1,074 in Mannar district, and 648 in Vavuniya district.
In the Eastern Province, 66 houses were completed in Batticaloa district. In addition, 100 houses have been taken up for repairs by providing an assistance of Rs. 250,000 for each house. So far Rs. 7.8 billion (approx. INR 355 crore) has been directly transferred to the beneficiaries.
In a spirit of complete transparency, the entire list of the over 10,000 beneficiaries who have completed their houses during 2013, has been placed on the official website of the High Commission (www.hcicolombo.org).
Although the second phase of the Indian Housing Project was launched in the Northern Province on 2 October 2012, coinciding with the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, construction picked up momentum only by January 2013, due to delays caused by the North-East monsoon from October to December 2012.
Another 16,000 houses are expected to be completed during the course of 2014, and the remaining 17,000 houses will be completed during 2015.
The housing project was officially launched in the Eastern Province only on 22 May 2013. In Batticaloa district, which is the first district in the province where project activity has commenced, 66 houses have been completed and 400 more houses are nearing completion. Efforts are underway to commence the project in the other parts of the Eastern Province at the earliest.
The second phase of the Indian Housing Project is being implemented under the owner-driven model, under which owner-beneficiaries are directly involved in the construction of their houses, using technical support and financial assistance amounting to Rs. 550,000 per house in four stages.
During the course of the second phase, 39,000 houses will be constructed in the Northern Province and 4,000 houses will be completed in the Eastern Province. The construction of 43,000 houses for resettlement and rehabilitation of IDPs in Northern and Eastern Provinces is part of the Government of India's overall commitment to build 50,000 houses, announced by the Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh, during the State visit of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to India in June 2010. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on 17 January 2012 between the two governments covering various aspects of project implementation.
The third phase of the Housing Project, involving construction of 4,000 houses under the agency-driven model for the estate workers of the Central and Uva Provinces, will be taken up by April 2014 once the arrangements related to the release of land by the concerned plantation companies are in place and the requisite land preparation is completed. The Consultant for implementation of the third phase has already been appointed by the Government of India.
The fourth phase, which would involve the construction of 2,000 houses under the agency-driven model, will be taken up in the Northern and Eastern Provinces for the most vulnerable IDPs (who are unable to build their own houses) during 2014.
A Pilot Project involving the construction of 1,000 houses in Northern Province was completed in July 2012 under the agency-driven model, on land provided by the Government of Sri Lanka.
The entire Project is being implemented under full grant assistance of the Government of India, with a total cost outlay of about Rs. 30 billion (INR 1,372 crore), making it one of the largest grant assistance projects undertaken by the Government of India in any country.