TNA rejects Sri Lankan govt offer of 65K houses

The Tamil National Alliance rejected the government’s offer to build 65,000 prefabricated houses in the North-East.

“We don’t want those steel cages,” TNA MP, MA Sumanthiran told parliament on Friday. “We don’t want prefabricated houses. We want brick-and-mortar houses that we can give to our children and grandchildren, those that can stand the test of time and that will be permanent houses.”

“We all want houses,” he added.“But we don’t want those prefabricated houses on which somebody’s making a killing.”

“The prefab houses did not have a foundation… You have to fix wheels and drag it around.”

“So you can’t give it to your children. Our people have been displaced time and again, but you don’t have to give them houses that can be displayed like this. We want a ‘veedu’ [home], not a ‘koodu’ [cage].”

“We worked with a group of civil society people who expended a lot of energy and time and brought in five local banks which made a proposal. In this proposal, they estimate the cost of a house at Rs. 800,000. If other facilities like community halls and parks…are to be provided in those villages, the cost of each unit would have been around Rs. 1 million.”

“So, for less than half the cost of what the Honourable Minister has proposed, we facilitated a counter proposal funded by local banks. You don’t even have to expend foreign currency for it.”

“When people have made proposals to do it for half the cost, why is it that the Minister is intent on implementing that questionable proposal of his?”

“None of our members have asked for those houses.”