The High Commission of India recently finalized pivotal agreements marking the commencement of constructing 10,000 houses in Sri Lanka's plantation regions under Phase IV of the Indian Housing Project. The agreements were inked with the National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) and State Engineering Corporation (SEC) to expedite housing initiatives in specific districts and provinces.
Phases and Focus on Housing
Eldos Mathew Punnoose, Counsellor and Head of Development Cooperation Wing, along with Rathnasiri Kalupahana, Chairman of SEC, and Kankanamalage Ajantha Janaka, General Manager of NHDA, formally sealed these crucial agreements. This extension builds upon India's overarching commitment to providing housing support in Sri Lanka, elevating the total commitment to 60,000 houses.
Initially focusing on completing 46,000 houses in the Northern and Eastern Provinces during the first two phases, the project advanced with the third phase concentrating on building 4,000 houses in plantation areas, nearing completion. Phase IV now further amplifies this initiative, underscoring housing's paramount importance in India's developmental partnership with Sri Lanka.
Additional Housing Initiatives and Financial Commitment
Complementing the Indian Housing Project, India is actively engaged in constructing an additional 2,400 houses across 25 districts of Sri Lanka under diverse housing projects. India's expansive development cooperation portfolio in Sri Lanka amounts to approximately USD 5 billion, with nearly USD 600 million allocated to grants, reinforcing India's unwavering support for Sri Lanka's development endeavors.
Enhancement of Rail Infrastructure
Concurrently, Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay spotlighted India's contributions to Sri Lanka's rail infrastructure. Baglay's recent journey from Colombo to Medawachiya in a spacious coach provided by India exemplified the enhanced travel facilitated under India's Line of Credit. These efforts, inclusive of track upgrades by IRCON International Limited, aim to bolster rail infrastructure and ensure improved travel experiences.
The Indian High Commission emphasized the pivotal role of rail infrastructure in India-Sri Lanka development cooperation. The provided coaches and track upgrades not only signify infrastructure enhancement but also symbolize the enduring partnership between the two nations.