05/23/2013, 00.00
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Sri Lanka to build new homes for war refugees with Indian support

by Melani Manel Perera
With the help of the Indian High Commission, the Sri Lankan government continues its three-year plan to re-house IDPs. The Indian High Commissioner and Sri Lanka's Economic Development Minister launch the project, "an unprecedented humanitarian action," in the east of the island.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - India's High Commissioner Ashok K. Kantha and Sri Lanka's Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa launched an Indian-funded housing project in the island nation's predominantly Tamil Eastern Province. The initiative, which calls for the construction of 4,000 housing units, includes events at three different locations.

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh first announced the housing project during a state visit by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to India in June 2010. It is part of India's overall commitment to build 50,000 houses at a cost of approximately US$ 270 million, the largest investment by the Government of India abroad.

According to official sources, 12,000 homes have already been built, with an additional 10,000 to be completed by the end of the year.

The Indian High Commission said it was 'very satisfied' with the project's progress. It also expressed great appreciation for the willingness and cooperation shown by the Sri Lankan authorities.

Minister Basil Rajapaksa, the president's brother, praised the Indian pledge. Expressing his deep satisfaction for results already achieved in the north of the country, he explained that the project was an unprecedented humanitarian action.

From 1983 to 2009, Sri Lanka was torn apart by a bloody civil war, which saw the government fight the Tamil Tigers rebel group.

The conflict broke out after Tamil nationalists decided to create an independent state in the northeast of the island, eventually turning into an ethnic clash that left tens of thousands of people dead and more than 200,000 internally displaced.

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