Aug 12, Colombo: India today handed over the first lot of houses built under the Indian Housing Project in Plantation Areas to the estate workers in Sri Lanka's hill country and inked an agreement to fund a new project to build an additional 10,000 houses under the project.
In a special ceremony held on Sunday (August 12) at Dunsinane Estate in Pundaluoya, Nuwara Eliya District under the patronage of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, the first lot of houses built under the Indian Housing Project in Plantation Areas were handed over to the beneficiaries
Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi addressed the beneficiaries of the housing project via message.
The new houses along with the land ownership were handed over to more than 400 beneficiaries by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Minister for Hill country New Villages, Infrastructure and Community Development Palani Digambaram, Minister of Plantation Industries Navin Dissanayake and Minister of Lands and Parliamentary Reforms Gayantha Karunathilake.
Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe handing over the houses in Gandhi Puram to the estate families said the houses were built in line with the government’s promise to setting up new housing units for the low income families in the estate sector.
He said the government as part of its plans to ensure everyone has shelter has helped over 260,000 low income families across the country to secure a home.
Prime Minister Modi in his address on the occasion, congratulated the proud owners of the newly built independent houses. Highlighting the uniqueness of the participatory owner-driven approach of the Indian Housing Project where in the beneficiaries actively participate in building the houses, he underscored that the Indian Housing Project in Sri Lanka with a grant of over US$ 350 million, was the largest Indian grant assistance project in any country abroad. He also recalled that out of the total commitment of 60,000 houses by India close to 47,000 houses have been built.
Further, recalling the launch of expansion of the pre-hospital Emergency Ambulance Service all over Sri Lanka last month, commencement of Air India flights from Colombo to Varanasi in August 2017 and signing of agreement for construction of 10,000 houses in the plantation areas today (August 12, 2018), Prime Minister Modi expressed satisfaction that promises made during his visit to Sri Lanka last year have been kept.
Expressing that Sri Lanka has been and will remain special for India, he reiterated Government and People of India's commitment to be with the people of Sri Lanka in their journey towards greater peace and prosperity.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe appreciated India's commitment to partner with Sri Lanka in development projects including in building houses for in Upcountry areas.
On the same occasion, the Letter of Exchange for construction of additional 10,000 houses in the plantation areas was signed by High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka Taranjit Singh Sandhu and Minister for Hill country New Villages, Infrastructure and Community Development Palani Digambaram. It may be recalled that Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi had committed to construct these additional houses during his visit to Sri Lanka in 2017. With this agreement the commitment of India for building houses in the plantation areas meant for estate workers has risen to 14000.
Several Members of Parliament and Central Provincial Council, senior Government officials as well as officials from Plantation Human Development Trust (PHDT), Regional Plantation Companies and a huge number of people from the Dunsinane Estate, close to 1500, including the beneficiaries of the houses and their families attended the function.