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Aug 12, 2018

Sri Lanka has always been special for India and will remain so: PM Narendra Modi

India today handed over the first lot of more than 400 houses built for Indian-origin people in Sri Lanka's central province. New Delhi has already built 46 thousand houses in war affected north and east provinces of the Island country. Another four thousand houses are also under construction for plantation workers in central and Uva province. 

Addressing the recipients of the first lot of houses in Nuware Eliya area in central Province of Sri Lanka through a video message, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, Sri Lanka has always been special for India and will remain so. He said, the Indian housing project in Sri Lanka with a grant of over 350 million dollars is one of the largest Indian grant assistance projects in any country abroad.

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremsinghe, who was the Chief Guest on the occasion, thanked the Indian government for the assistance. He recalled the historical links and said Sri Lanka welcomes Mr. Modi's suggestion to establish direct air links between Colombo and Varanasi to facilitate pilgrims from Sri Lanka. Mr Wickremsinghe also thanked Mr Modi for the pre-hospital emergency ambulance service which was expanded all over Sri Lanka last month with Indian assistance. 
India has committed development assistance of around 3 billion dollars to Sri Lanka out of which around 550 million dollars is pure grant.

Thousands of Tamil workers were brought from India by British during 19th century to work in plantation sectors and around a million are still dependent upon it. However, the socioeconomic condition of these workers are not very good with housing being a major problem. It is no surprise that they turned in large numbers today to witness the program despite bad weather and their joy was described by Mr Zubeir, project manager 

Indian housing project in Sri Lanka with a grant over 350 million US dollars is the largest grant assistance abroad from Indian government. As part of it, a total of 46 thousand houses were earlier provided to war affected Tamil minorities in north and east provinces. 

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