The construction of 65,000 houses for conflict affected families in the North-East will begin in the next two months and the selection of beneficiaries is being carried out by District and Divisional Secretaries of the two provinces right now, a senior Cabinet Minister said.
Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs Minister D.M.Swaminathan speaking exclusively to Daily Mirror from India yesterday said there would be no calling of new tenders or revisit of the tender offered to Arcelor Mittal Construction in France or call tenders afresh as requested by the Joint Opposition.
”Reluctantly though, we have to accept one fact which is that local contractors or investors are not capable of undertaking a massive project of this magnitude. That is why we offered the tender to Arcelor Mittal which is a globally recognised multinational construction company. We also want to finish the task within the targeted time and resettle 65,000 families in two years,” Minister Swaminathan said.
Elaborating on the controversial housing project he said the Cabinet has decided to award the tender to this prestigious French construction company to ensure the quality and durability of the houses to be built. There were doubts whether a local company would successfully complete the project in a given time frame and whether required resources and raw material like sand, cement, bricks, roofing and human resources were available in the local market.
Minister Swaminathn said priorities will be given in the allocation of houses to conflict affected people residing in welfare centres, conflict affected women headed families, families with disabilities due to conflict, families with missing persons and disappearances due to conflict and refugee returnees who lost their shelters and lived in welfare camps. (Sandun A Jayasekera)