Action initiated to uphold economic & social rights of Tamils in S. Lanka: Prez Wickremesinghe

PTI | Colombo | Updated: 19-02-2024 22:19 IST | Created: 19-02-2024 22:19 IST
Action initiated to uphold economic & social rights of Tamils in S. Lanka: Prez Wickremesinghe
  • Country:
  • Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Monday that his government has initiated the process to uphold the economic and social rights of the country's minority Tamil community as he expressed gratitude for India's support for a housing project in the island nation.

Wickremesinghe virtually launched the 4th stage of the Indian Housing project, 'Bharat- Lanka,' aimed at constructing 10,000 houses with Indian grant assistance for plantation sector workers in Sri Lanka.

Indian High Commissioner Santosh Jha joined President Wickremesinghe in virtually unveiling the foundation stone plaque for 1,300 houses across 45 plantation estates in ten districts.

Wickremesinghe expressed gratitude to India for its support and said, "The Indian government has generously provided support for this housing project. I express my sincere gratitude to the Government of India for this gesture.'' ''The Tamil community of Indian origin, who have made significant contributions to the country's economy, have unfortunately suffered great losses due to the lack of land and housing ownership. Today, they have been deprived of their political rights, but it is imperative that their economic and social rights are upheld,'' he said.

''The government is actively initiating this process, starting with negotiations with estate companies to acquire land for the construction of these," he added.

An announcement regarding the 10,000 houses was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his last visit to the island nation in May 2017.

The Indian High Commissioner emphasised India's deep commitment to supporting the Indian-origin Tamil community in Sri Lanka.

''The decision to construct these houses was announced during Prime Minister Modi's historic visit to Hatton, marking the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to the region. These 10,000 houses, spanning 250 estates and six provinces, aim to support the most underprivileged sections of society,'' he said.

''The primary objective of the housing project is to provide plantation workers with their own dwelling spaces, thereby empowering them and improving their well-being. This initiative aligns with India's people-centric approach and neighbourhood-first policy in its relations with Sri Lanka,'' he said.

The High Commission of India in Colombo took to X to share photos from the ceremony and said that India's commitment to Sri Lanka in housing stands at more than 60,000.

Housing receives focused attention in India's people-centric development cooperation partnership with Sri Lanka.

Beyond the Indian Housing Project, 2,400 houses are being built across the 25 Districts of Sri Lanka under different housing projects. India's development cooperation portfolio stands at around USD 5 billion, with close to USD 600 million being in grants, the mission said in a press release in November last year.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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