The construction of 4,000 housing units for needy families in the Plantation Sector, sponsored by the Indian Government, is slated to begin in March, Estate Infrastructure Development Minister P. Digambaram said.

The minister said the construction of the houses for estate workers in the Central Province and Badulla district will be flagged off next month possibly by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself during a likely official visit to Sri Lanka.

The 4,000 houses is part of a 50,000 housing project implemented by the Indian Government for the former conflict affected people in the North and East Provinces and needy families working in the estate sector in the Central Province and Badulla district. With a commitment of over US$ 270 million in grants, it is the flagship project of India’s developmental assistance to Sri Lanka. It is perhaps the largest such project undertaken by India anywhere in the world.

Minister Digambaram said around 35,000 houses in the North and East under this project has been already constructed, it was yet to get off ground in the estate sector. The minister also said the delay in implementing the project in the plantation areas was partly due to the inefficiency of the political authority who earlier held sway in the upcountry plantation areas.

The minister said soon after he had assumed office, he had taken steps to hold talks with the relevant officials to speed up the building of houses for needy people in the estate sector.

He said choosing housing recipients will be done in a very transparent manner which ensures that there are no discrimination due to political or other factors.

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