Colombo: Sri Lanka has welcomed a whopping Rs 1,372 crore Indian housing assistance programme to build around 4000 homes in the country`s eastern province.
The housing assistance programme is one of the largest grant assistance projects implemented by India outside the country.
Sri Lanka`s Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa has recalled the significant contribution of the Indian High Commission in initiating and implementing wide ranging projects of Indian assistance in the Northern and Eastern provinces after the end of the civil war in 2009.
Construction of nearly 4,000 homes in two administrative districts in the east - Batticaloa and Ampara - was commenced yesterday.
Rajapaksa recalled that his brother, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in his 2010 visit to India had requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to build 50,000 homes in the north.
The project was later expanded to provide housing in the east.
"Among donor-funded humanitarian assistance projects in Sri Lanka, the Indian Housing Project was unmatched and unprecedented in its scale, reach and impact," Rajapaksa said during the launch of the programme in Batticaloa.
Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Ashok K Kantha reiterated the importance attached by India to support initiatives for early resettlement of displaced persons in Northern and Eastern provinces and providing opportunities to enhance their livelihoods.
He expressed satisfaction that projects of Indian assistance in Northern Province were progressing well.
The Indian Housing Project, which aims to support resettlement and rehabilitation of IDPs in Northern and Eastern provinces, is part of India`s overall commitment to build 50,000 houses.
The entire Project is fully funded by the India with a total outlay of Sri Lankan rupees 30.6 billion (RS 1,372 crore).