The second phase of an ambitious $270 million India-aided project to build 43,000 houses for ethnic Tamils was launched Tuesday in Sri Lanka.
The project is part of New Delhi's commitment to assist the island nation in rehabilitation of Tamils displaced by the Sri Lanka conflict that ended in 2009.
The project was launched jointly by Sri Lanka's Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa and India's High Commissioner Ashok K. Kantha through a series of events organised at Periyamadhu, Mallavi and Eluthumadduval in Mannar, Mullaithivu and Jaffna districts, the Indian high commission in Colombo said in a statement. Many Sri Lanka ministers were also present at the ceremonies.
India has provided grant assistance of Rs.1,372 crore (around $270 million) for the housing project.
The construction of 43,000 houses for the displaced Tamils in Northern and Eastern provinces is an integral part of India's commitment to build 50,000 houses, which was announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the state visit of Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa to India in June 2010, the statement said.
The pilot phase of construction of 1,000 houses was completed in July this year.
Lauding India's development assistance to Sri Lanka after the end of the conflict with the LTTE in 2009, Rajapaksa highlighted how the housing project underlined "the phased, timely and sequenced manner of India's development assistance to Sri Lanka".
The third phase for building 2,000 houses project is expected to start before the end of this year, the statement said.