Tamil National Alliance (TNA) chief R. Sampanthan and Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran have both argued that at least two houses could be constructed under the given unit cost of over Rs.2 million.
In its detailed response, the Ministry stated that the unit cost of the latest project — Rs.2.18 million — had been arrived at after taking into account the cost of various components and without including taxes, The Hindu newspaper reported.
Each prefabricated house would have facilities like kitchen with pantry cupboard; a dining table and four chairs; a television set along with a stand; a laptop with Wi-Fi facility; a tube well and a 500-litre water tank. There are a total of 65,000 houses to be constructed.
Making a comparison with housing projects of other wings of the government, the Ministry said that the unit cost under the plantation housing programme was Rs.1.2 million and that under the Meeriabatta housing programme of the Sri Lanka Army was Rs.1.3 million.
It also said that when the Resettlement Ministry had carried out a housing project with an owner-driven model, the unit cost was Rs.8,00,000. However the cost element there did not cover the facilities that were being envisaged under the new project.
The Ministry said the temperature inside the proposed houses would be lower by 3-5 degree Celsius than the temperature outside. This was because of insulation technology to be adopted.
On the selection of ArcelorMittal Construction France as the executing agency, the Ministry said eight companies had submitted documents for “request for proposals (RFP)”. Of these, only two — ArcelorMittal and EPI-OCPL Consortium — were qualified. Of these two, only ArcelorMittal had provided a detailed financial package. (Colombo Gazette)