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10,000 brick and mortar type houses for conflict-affected Northern and Eastern Provinces

On the initiative of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as Minister of National Policies, Economic Affairs, Resettlement, Rehabilitation and Northern Province Development and Youth Affairs, 10,000 brick and mortar type houses are being implemented in 2019 with GOSL funding for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and Refugee Returnees in the conflict-affected Northern and Eastern Provinces.

Of the 10,000 houses, 4,750 houses started in early January are nearing completion. Out of 4,750 houses 1,500 houses in Jaffna, 670 houses in Kilinochchi, 630 houses in Mullaitivu, 350 houses in Mannar, 450 houses in Vavuniya, 625 houses in Batticaloa, 400 houses in Trincomalee and 125 houses in Ampara and all these houses are nearing completion, said Ministry of National Policies, Economic Affairs, Resettlement and Rehabilitation, Northern Province Development and Youth Affairs Secretary V. Sivagnanasothy.

Some of the houses were ceremonially handed over to the beneficiaries in Jaffna and Trincomalee Districts by the Prime Minister.

With regard to the phase-II houses amounting to 5,250, in Jaffna 1,065 houses (covering the newly resettled area), Kilinochchi 855 houses, Mullaitivu 695 houses, Mannar 850 houses, Vavuniya 550 houses and Trincomalee 600 houses are expected to be completed by end August, said V. Sivagnanasothy. The cost per housing unit is Rs. 1 million and Rs. 10 billion has been allocated in 2019 for the construction of 10,000 houses in the conflict-affected Northern and Eastern Provinces.

These houses have floor area of 550 sq.ft, two bedrooms, kitchen, living room and toilet and the roof is made of Calicut tiles. These houses are constructed under owner driven modality. Therefore, family members and people in the vicinity have got employment opportunity for their livelihood. Further, this money is circulated within the district and it has benefitted to the relevant districts, said Sivagnanasothy.

The houses have been allocated to the beneficiaries who are IDPs in the welfare camps and with friends and relatives, refugee returnees who got displaced during the conflict period and lost their houses due to conflict.

The beneficiary selection process was prioritised based on a point system giving priority to women headed families, war widows, disabled, mine affected families, families of missing persons, rehabilitated ex-combatants and families are under severe poverty living in sheds and huts including families with large members and elders.

A grievance committee at district and national level has been established to look into the grievances in the selection of beneficiaries, said Sivagnanasothy.

27,536 houses were provided to the conflict-affected families in the Northern and Eastern Provinces since 2015 and the total cost amounts to Rs. 24 billion.

Further, a Cabinet Paper was submitted by Prime Minister Wickremesinghe as Minister of National to resettle the 381 landless families who are in the welfare centres.

As there is a severe shortage in State lands in Jaffna District, Cabinet has granted approval to purchase 20 perches of private land for each family based on the chief valuer’s valuation to resettle the landless families in the welfare centres and take early action to close the welfare centres. Rs. 35 million has been released to purchase private lands to resettle 50 landless families in the welfare camps.

This initiative has contributed to resolve the long-felt requirement of the housing problem especially in the conflict-affected Northern and Eastern Provinces.

This program is an important initiative under the Durable Solution for Conflict Affected Displacement Policy of the Government and contributed to the peace building initiative as set out in the Sustainable Development Goals.

(FT)

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