In a significant development, India has pledged to build an additional 10,000 houses in the plantation areas of Sri Lanka, expanding its housing project in the country. The High Commission of India formalized this commitment by signing two crucial agreements under Phase-IV of the Indian Housing Project on Tuesday.
Agreements and Implementing Agencies:
The High Commission inked separate agreements with two Implementing Agencies, namely the National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) and the State Engineering Corporation (SEC). The primary objective of these agreements is to facilitate the swift commencement of the construction of 10,000 houses in the plantation regions. Signatories to the agreements included Eldos Mathew Punnoose, Counsellor and Head of Development Cooperation Wing, Rathnasiri Kalupahana, Chairman of SEC, and Kankanamalage Ajantha Janaka, General Manager of NHDA.
Geographical Spread and Phases:
Phase IV of the Indian Housing Project spans across 11 districts and 6 provinces in Sri Lanka, focusing on the plantation areas. The Government of India’s commitment to this initiative now stands at 60,000 houses. Notably, the first two phases successfully completed the construction of 46,000 houses in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, while the third phase, targeting the plantation areas, is nearing completion with 4,000 houses.
People-Centric Development Cooperation:
Housing remains a focal point in India’s people-centric development cooperation partnership with Sri Lanka. Beyond the Indian Housing Project, an additional 2,400 houses are under construction across the 25 districts of Sri Lanka as part of various housing projects. India’s robust development cooperation portfolio for Sri Lanka amounts to approximately USD 5 billion, with nearly USD 600 million allocated in grants.
High Commissioner’s Commute and Rail Infrastructure Development:
Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay’s recent journey from Colombo to Medawachiya aboard a spacious coach provided by India underscores the collaborative efforts in strengthening rail infrastructure in Sri Lanka. The journey was made comfortable through railway coaches provided under the Indian Line of Credit by RITES LIMITED. Additionally, track upgrades from Anuradhapura to Omanthai, funded under the Indian Line of Credit, contribute significantly to enhancing rail infrastructure and commuter comfort.
The Indian High Commission highlighted the importance of strengthening rail infrastructure in Sri Lanka as a key focus area of India-Sri Lanka development cooperation. This collaborative effort aligns with the shared commitment to fostering connectivity and promoting economic development in the region.
India’s extension of its housing project in Sri Lanka, particularly in the plantation areas, reflects the nations’ enduring commitment to collaborative development. The agreements signed under Phase-IV signify a strategic move to address housing needs in specific regions, marking another milestone in the longstanding partnership between India and Sri Lanka. As construction commences on these 10,000 houses, the initiative not only addresses the practical need for housing but also reinforces the bonds of friendship and cooperation between the two South Asian neighbors
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