Sri Lanka defends contract offered to China to build houses

Sri Lanka has defended a contract offered to China to build houses for war affected families in the North and East.

Minister of Resettlement, Rehabilitation, Northern Development and Hindu Religious D.M Swaminathan said that the the project was offered to a Chinese Company after careful consideration.

He said that China Railway Beijing Engineering Group Co. Ltd had been awarded the contract to build 40,00 houses for the war affected families.

The Minister said that the Chinese company has agreed to complete the project in two years and that will help meet the urgent requirement for housing for the families.

Swaminathan said that while the Government had begun constructing houses for the war displaced families there was still a need for over 160,000 houses.

The Minister said that it was in this backdrop that an agreement was reached with the Chinese company after the company met all the specifications.

Swaminathan also said that the Chinese housing project will also see some 7000 locals in the North and East receiving employment to construct the houses.

India is also involved in providing houses for the war affected families in the North and East.

A local media report had said this week that India had raised concerns at the highest levels of the Sri Lankan Government about the manner in which the contract to build 40,000 houses in the North and East was recently awarded without tender to the Chinese company that has no history of building houses in the country.

The Sunday Times reported that the Indian Government had questioned the decision to give the hefty tender to a company that has “not even built one house yet in Sri Lanka”. It has also been queried how a company which is unfamiliar with conditions in those areas, including that of the soil and weather, could be given the contract without a comprehensive study. (Colombo Gazette)

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