Daily News: 20/07/2005" BY CHANNA Kasturisinghe
ABOUT 80 percent of total donor pledges for post-tsunami reconstruction has been converted to commitments already enabling the major infrastructure projects to start construction on the ground from January, the Chairman of the Task Force for Rebuilding, Mano Tittawella said.
He said the Government has signed commitments with the donors funding the road projects covering the entire tsunami affected area of the country which is expected to cost about US$ 350 to 375 million.
"The donors have signed the commitments and now their teams are on the ground actually working out the detailed feasibility to estimate the actual cost of these projects.
In some cases that stage is already completed and we have gone to the procurement stage following the signing of which the funds will be disbursed enabling constructions to start." Tittawella said.
He said that construction stage of some projects might take time till next March due to delays in the procurement process.
According to the assessments done by the donors and the Government the total cost of post-tsunami reconstruction is USD 2.3 billion dollars. However, the donor pledges have exceeded that amount and therefore there will be no shortfall of the funding for the reconstruction process," Tittawella said.
He made these comments addressing a meeting organised by the American Chamber of Commerce in Colombo yesterday.
Tittawella also said that implementation of the Post-Tsunami Operational Management Structure (P-TOMS) is not essential for re-construction activities to take place in the Eastern coastal belt.
"However, it will allow the two parties to engage in this activity with co-operation which will be more beneficial," he said.
He said scarcity of building materials and human resources were among the challenges in building houses for the tsunami affected which is an immediate need.
Housing projects for the tsunami affected areas have already started and about 3000 houses have already been built and the construction of about 17,000 houses is underway, according to TAFREN sources.