( November 20, 2016, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The 16-member TNA parliamentary group has written to the president and prime minister strongly objecting to the construction of 65,000 prefabricated steel houses to be built by Arcelor Mittal at a cost of Rs. 2.1 million each proposed by Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation and Hindu Affairs Minister D.M. Swaminathan.
“…..our people desperately need houses but they should be masonry houses which will cost less than half of the proposed prefabricated houses,” their letter said.
It said they had worked with a group of civil society agencies and persons who generously contributed their time and expertise and forwarded an alternate proposal to be funded by a consortium of local banks.
This envisaged the construction of 102,000 masonry houses costing just under a million rupees each utilizing local labour which will provide livelihood for a large number of people for a period of about four years.
“We were dismayed to find that Minister Swaminathan has made personal telephone calls to several of us, inviting us to make request for prefabricated houses in our respective electorates,” the letter said.
It further said the Sectoral Oversight Committee on Rehabilitation and the Jaffna District Coordinating Committee has unanimously rejected the prefabricated steel houses proposal.