Indian Cabinet to approve proposal to build 50,000 houses for displaced Tamils in Sri Lanka

Nov 29, New Delhi: The Cabinet of India is to consider soon the central government’s proposal to build 50,000 houses for the displaced Tamils in Sri Lanka’s conflict-affected Northern Province.

Indian government has made a commitment to construct 50,000 houses in Sri Lanka for rehabilitation of the IDPs during the state visit of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to India in June 2010.

According to the Indian government’s proposal, 41,000 units would be constructed anew in Northern, Eastern and Central Provinces of Sri Lanka. The remaining 9,000 units would be repaired.

Three state-run companies – Hindustan Prefab Ltd, Hindustan Steelworks Construction and National Building Constructions Corporation – are entrusted with the construction at a cost of US$ 230 million (1,200 crore Indian rupees).

Under an agreement signed last year, the Hindustan Prefab Limited (HPL) under the administrative control of Government of India will build 1,000 houses as a pilot project.

Under the Pilot Project, each house consists of 540 square feet of area and will be constructed with locally available material. HPL would be the Project Monitoring Consultant.

According to a PTI report, 15,000 new units out of the proposed number would be built by the three companies according to their choices, while the rest would be “owner-driven”, where the owner of the house would have a say on construction.

“In these cases, the owner would have to provide labour and bear the additional amount,” a source has told PTI.

Following the Cabinet approval, the Ministry of External Affairs would allocate the job among the three state-run firms to execute the entire project in a time-bound manner, PTI reported.

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