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Serving Sri Lanka

This web log is a news and views blog. The primary aim is to provide an avenue for the expression and collection of ideas on sustainable, fair, and just, grassroot level development. Some of the topics that the blog will specifically address are: poverty reduction, rural development, educational issues, social empowerment, post-Tsunami relief and reconstruction, livelihood development, environmental conservation and bio-diversity. 

Monday, April 04, 2005

Housing loans outside buffer zone from Sunday

Financial Times of the Daily Mirror: By Sunimalee Dias
The Government yesterday assured the release of funds estimated at Rs. 5 billion for the reconstruction of tsunami-hit houses in both cleared and uncleared areas from Sunday (April 3).

Finance Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama told journalists that the People's Bank and the Bank of Ceylon will keep their branches in the tsunami affected areas open on Sunday to grant funds for reconstruction of houses beyond the 100 metre limit.

He said that of the 60,000 houses affected in these areas only about 30,000 would be granted funds under this project.

Dr. Amunugama also said that under the project houses damaged in whole or part will be entitled to rebuild.

The public are requested to come to the bank in which they hold an account and to submit the form issued by TAFREN perfected to obtain the grant. However, those who have not fully perfected this form and those not in possession of a form will be able to obtain one that could be filled with the assistance of the Bank Manager or staff, he said.

The minister said that no one would be turned away but that a test would be carried out to verify the accuracy and genuineness of the information tendered. The Disaster Assessment Team would have forwarded their own recommendations for the granting of such funds attested by the Divisional Secretary.

On April 9 a ceremonial distribution of certificates would be held for all eligible for loans that would be carried out by the NGOs and the village level associations in this regard.

Commenting on the accusations leveled against the government concerning the non-distribution of funds for reconstruction purposes he explained that this was due to the fact that during first three months the government was engaged n providing relief assistance to the tsunami affected people.

However, during this second phase there is "a widespread investment project from now on would begin the rebuilding programme," he said adding that "as we go along the rebuilding and reconstruction will be taking place."

Under this program, families whose homes have been partially damaged due to the tsunami disaster will be provided with a grant of Rs.100,000 to facilitate the reconstruction process while a housing grant of Rs. 250,000 will be provided for the reconstruction of houses that were totally destroyed. This loan scheme would be made available on three installments.

The minister noted that there would be a separate project carried out for the construction of houses for those whose houses were built within the 100 metres.


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