India expresses concern over huge Chinese housing project
India has raised concern at the highest levels of the Sri Lankan Government about the manner in which a contract to build 40,000 houses in the North and East was recently awarded without tender to a Chinese company that has no history of building houses in the country.
The Resettlement Ministry last month secured Cabinet approval for China Railway Beijing Engineering Group Co Ltd and its country representative Yapka Construction (Pvt) Ltd to construct 40,000 prefabricated concrete houses for the war-affected in the North and East. They are the same parties selected by the Disaster Management Ministry to build 10,000 houses for landslide victims.
However, the Indian Government has questioned the decision to give the hefty tender–which is likely to see Chinese labour spread across the North and East–to a company that has “not even built one house yet in Sri Lanka”. It has also been queried how a company which is unfamiliar with conditions in those areas, including that of the soil and weather, could be given the contract without a comprehensive study.
The Indian Government has not raised issue about the granting of Cabinet approval to build 25,000 brick-and-mortar houses to a consortium of humanitarian agencies led by UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS), Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka and the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society.