March 2017, Nuwara Eliya District, Sri Lanka. On 6th March 2017, the Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, H.E. Taranjit Singh Sandhu and the Assistant Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Radha Venkataraman, visited the housing project location in Dunsinane Estate in Nuwara Eliya District, funded by the Indian Housing Project in Central and Uva provinces.
This project, funded by the Government of India, is implemented by UN-Habitat in two estates in Nuwara Eliya district – Diyagama and Dunsinane to construct houses for estate worker families who are currently residing in dilapidated line rooms with minimal, basic facilities.
Secretary to the Ministry of Hill Country New Villages, Infrastructure and Community Development, Ranjini Nadarajapillai; Member of Parliament, Mylvaganam Thilakaraj; Member of the Central Provincial Council Radhakrishnan Rajaram; Senior Regional Director of the Plantation Human Development Trust (PHDT), Lal Perera; and the Country Programme Manager of UN-Habitat Sri Lanka, Chanaka Talpahewa, also participated in the visit. Representatives from the Plantation Company, members of Estate Workers Housing Cooperative Societies (EWCHS) and senior officers from UN-Habitat and community members were also present.
During his visit, the High Commissioner visited several houses that are currently under construction at the estate. UN-Habitat staff briefed the members of the mission on key aspects of the project including participatory design planning, the use of cost-effective construction technologies and provision of technical training to community members and skilled workers. A meeting was held with the community members and the EWHCS to discuss project progress. The High Commissioner congratulated the beneficiaries on their house construction progress and their contribution towards the construction of the houses. A tree sapling was planted by the High Commissioner to commemorate his visit.
The overall project involves the construction of 4,000 houses through an innovative community-driven model involving the Estate Workers Housing Cooperative Societies and beneficiary families currently living in line rooms. The Indian Government is providing approximately $30 million funding for the project over the next two years. The 4,000 houses is a part of India’s overall commitment to fund the construction of 50,000 houses in conflict-effected and plantation regions of Sri Lanka.