‘Will build 4,000 houses in Nuwara Eliya and Badulla’

The Indian government, which is constructing 50,000 houses for the war-affected in Sri Lanka, will focus on building homes for plantation Tamils in 2014.

Indian High Commissioner Y.K. Sinha said that while the project sought to provide homes to internally displaced persons, it also included a component for plantation or Tamils of Indian-origin, who were brought to Sri Lanka by the British in the early 19th century. Since then, most of them had been living in tiny line room accommodation, with hardly any facilities. “We will build 4,000 houses for Indian-origin Tamils in Nuwara Eliya and Badulla districts in an agency-driven model,” Mr. Sinha said, speaking to Indian journalists here. The Indian Mission was acquiring land, he added.

In the North, the model for building homes is primarily owner-driven, with beneficiaries directly involved in the construction, using technical support and financial assistance, amounting to LKR 5,50,000 (Indian Rs. 2,55,000) a house, from India in four stages.

The houses which are to come up in Nuwaya Eliya and Badulla will be part of the third phase of India’s project for building 50,000 houses by 2015, at a total cost of Rs.1,400 crore.

In 2013, the Indian government, along with implementing agencies, built 10,184 houses in the Northern Province — 1,832 in Jaffna, 3,090 in Kilinochchi, 3,540 in Mullaitivu, 1,074 in Mannar and 648 in Vavuniya district.

In the Eastern Province, 66 houses were completed in Batticaloa.

Meanwhile, with some families currently building homes as part of this scheme raising concerns about running into heavy debt, the Indian Mission organised a workshop for the beneficiaries in northern Sri Lanka to help them cut costs, officials said.