India spent Rs 100 cr in 2nd phase of Lanka housing project

New Delhi: India has processed more than 15,500 transactions and disbursed Rs 100 crore in the last six months to beneficiaries in Sri Lanka under the second phase of the housing project there with the help of five Indian banks.

New Delhi, which launched the direct cash transfer on October 2 last year, has planned to spend Rs 1,000 crore for construction of 43,000 house units in the second phase of the housing project.

During 2013-14, an amount of Rs 375 crore is expected to be incurred towards the implementation of this project meant for displaced Tamils.

Out of 43,000 units, 39,000 houses are in Northern Province and 4,000 in Eastern Province of Sri Lanka.

Giving details of the "owner-driven" model adopted by India for the second phase, officials said government transfers a cash grant of SLR 5.50 lakh (Sri Lankan Rupees) directly into the bank accounts of beneficiaries in four instalments for construction of new houses and a cash grant of upto SLR 2,50,000 in three instalments for repairs of existing houses.

The work is directly executed by the beneficiaries themselves.

A dedicated Development Cooperation Wing has been set up in the Indian High Commission in Colombo, with a number of additional staff deployed to facilitate the implementation of the growing projects portfolio, they said.

"We have utilised SLR 2.28 billion (INR 100 crore) for the housing project since the launch of its second phase six months ago and as on March 30 this year, the Indian mission in Colombo has processed 15,586 transactions (1st instalment- 11,379, 2nd instalment-3,448, 3rd instalment741 and 4th instalment-18 beneficiary files)," officials said.

The funds for the project are transferred through five Indian banks operating in Colombo — State Bank of India, Axis Bank, Indian Bank, Indian Overseas Bank and ICICI Bank. Each bank has been allocated a specific area of jurisdiction for transferring funds to beneficiaries falling within their jurisdiction.