Construction of houses for war-affected: Resettlement Ministry delays irk Sumanthiran | Sunday Observer

Construction of houses for war-affected: Resettlement Ministry delays irk Sumanthiran

Parliamentarian, M. A. Sumanthiran continues to voice his concerns as to why no steps are being taken by the Ministry of Resettlement and Hindu Affairs on the Cabinet decision to construct ten to fifteen thousand traditional masonry houses parallel to the 6,000 steel fabricated houses to be constructed by ArcelorMittal.

The parliamentarian told the Sunday Observer that it has been over two months since the decision was given the green light by the Cabinet, but the Ministry has so far failed to implement it.

“President Maithiripala Sirisena had directed them to start within three weeks. But now almost two months had elapsed and nothing has been done,” he said.

The accusations levelled against Resettlement and Hindu Affairs Minister D. M. Swaminathan is that he is keen on going ahead with the steel prefabricated houses so that people will opt for it rather than for masonry homes which are achievable at a lower cost.

The Cabinet while approving to grant the steel prefabricated project to ArcelorMittal stated that it should first ascertain whether the client prefers it to a masonry house.

Sumanthiran who finds fault with this precondition, says that any person who wants a house is not going to say no to a house. But what should have been done was to give the receiver of the house to choose between a steel prefabricated house or a masonry house.

“I mentioned this when President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe were in Jaffna recently, and they both agreed that that is how it will be done. But nothing has happened so far,” Sumanthiran said.

He emphasized that it is the people in the North and the East whose woes are being prolonged by the government’s delay in making decisions and implementing them with vigour.

Earlier, allegation were made that fresh tenders were not called when the quantum of houses awarded to ArcelorMittal was reduced. The Cabinet appointed negotiating committee itself recommended that fresh tenders be called as the tender procedure was flawed.