Fourteen months after the killer-tsunami ravaged vast tracts of Sri Lanka’s coastal belt, Non governmental Organisations have only been able to build a mere 5,000 houses out of the promised 30,000, it is revealed.
A report which details the unfinished or half done work by the NGOs for the tsunami victims will be handed over to President Mahinda Rajapaksa next week by the Reconstruction and Development Agency.
RADA chief Tiran Alles told the Daily Mirror certain NGOs had commitments to build some 20,000 houses but the sad fact was a paltry 500 houses had been completed and it was a virtual drop in the ocean.
Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga set up an institution called TAFREN to handle tsunami rehabilitation and reconstruction work.
But due to the mounting opposition to TAFREN by the JVP and the JHU and the subsequent court case it came to be placed in cold storage.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa after assuming office brought all tsunami work under an umbrella organisation called Reconstruction and Development Agency headed by his confidant Tiran Alles.
Earlier, when the NGOs failed to build the targeted number of houses for the tsunami survivors, the government issued deadlines, but those too had no affect in speeding up the work.
The NGOs in turn accused the government of dragging its feet in releasing the necessary lands for housing construction.
The controversial and much debated 100-metre buffer zone was another factor that delayed the process of reconstruction and rehabilitation.
Meanwhile the Urban Development Authority said of a total of 90,000 houses required for the tsunami victims, the NGOs were required to build 30,000.
The remaining 60,000 houses were to be built under what was called an owner driven programme where the owners were to be provided with state funds to build the houses on their own blocks of land.
The NGO’s were known to be heavily funded by foreign donors. But the work done in most instances appears to have been somewhat half-hearted and much more remains to be done.