At a ceremony at Peliyagoda, earlier today, High Commissioner of India H.E. Mr. Ashok K. Kantha handed over to Mr. U.L.M.Haldeen, Secretary, Ministry of Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services, the first lot of 10,000 cement bags out of the 400,000 cement bags being supplied by Government of India. The cement bags procured from Ultratech Cement Lanka Pvt. Ltd., will be supplied in lots of 10,000 cement bags each day for the next 40-45 days and will be dispatched to various areas in North by Government authorities for distribution among the resettled population in the Northern Province. Each resettled family is expected to receive 8 cement bags which will be used for repair and renovation of their houses damaged during years of armed conflict in Sri Lanka. These cement bags, along with an earlier supply of 530,000 Metal Roofing Sheets by India are meant to contribute to reconstruction of dwellings of the resettling IDPs in the new areas of their habitation. The total cost of the supplies of 400,000 cement bags is Sri Lankan Rs. 200 million (US$ 1.75 million) and is financed out of the SLR 12.5 billion grant assistance announced by Government of India for reconstruction activities in Sri Lanka in May 2009.
The High Commissioner of India, speaking on the occasion, expressed the hope that the supplies of cement bags and roofing sheets by the Government of India would assist the resettling IDPs in rebuilding their lives. He said that Indian contribution was based on the priorities and requirements projected by the Sri Lankan side. He added that as reconstruction effort was moving to the next stage, the Government of India was actively working on rehabilitation assistance directed at restoring the social, cultural and economic infrastructure in the Northern Province. This included a proposal for reconstruction and restoration of the damaged houses, hospitals and schools for the re-settling IDPs as well as reconstruction of the railway infrastructure for which the Government of India has already announced a line of credit of US$ 425 million. The High Commissioner added that India and Sri Lanka enjoy extremely close and cordial relationship and Indian contribution to the rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in northern Sri Lanka was a manifestation of the excellent and friendly relations between the two countries.
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