Oct 08, Jaffna: The Government and the people of India remain committed to assist people of Sri Lanka in the processes of rehabilitation and reconstruction, a visiting Indian Minister said today.
India's External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said India's assistance to Sri Lanka with a timely and phased approach has taken into account the ground situation and the immediate needs of the people at any given time.
Khurshid visited the Northern Province today to observe the progress of the India-funded projects in the war-torn region.
During his visit to Jaffna, the Indian Minister distributed certificates to a small number of beneficiaries of the Indian Housing Project, and to the owners of micro and small enterprises whose business premises, damaged during the armed conflict were reestablished with the Indian assistance.
Earlier today Khurshid had visited Tellipalai, one of the villages where beneficiaries are reconstructing their houses themselves, with the help of funds provided by the Government of India.
He said the Housing Project in Sri Lanka is the largest grant assistance project undertaken by the Government of India in any part of the world.
The project has completed 1,000 houses under the Pilot Phase and nearly 16,000 houses are under various stages of construction in the 2nd Phase of the project.
The Minister said the target of completion of all 50,000 houses will be reached before the end of 2015.
Speaking of the progress on the India-funded Northern Railway Project, Khurshid said the project is progressing smoothly and the full project to complete the Northern Line up to Kankasanthurai in Jaffna peninsula is expected to be completed by April 2014, ahead of schedule.
Noting that India funded the dredging of Kankasanthurai Harbor and offered a line of credit to develop the harbor into a commercial port, the visiting Minister said India is also helping to enhance sea-side connectivity by restarting the ferry service between Rameswaram and Thalaimannar. India is helping to reconstruct the pier at Thalaimannar, he added.
"India remains committed to uplifting the lives of the people of the Northern Province through its efforts to restore the social, educational, economic and cultural infrastructure, which were devastated by the armed conflict," Minister Khurshid said.