Displaced Northern Muslims choose
to settle down in Puttalam District

by Pabodha Hettige

The war displaced Northern Muslims have expressed their willingness to settle down in Puttalam, which has been their home for about two decades, Secretary of the Ministry for Resettlement B. M. U. D Basnayaka says.

"A housing project, fully funded by the World Bank, is already under construction to provide permanent housing to the Northern Muslims," he said.

It had been planned to build 6,000 houses and already 4,000 had been completed, the Basnayake said. Another 1,000 houses were under construction and out of those, 500 would be given to the host families with whom the war displaced were currently staying.

The initiative to provide 500 houses to the host families had been taken by the ministry considering their living conditions, Basnayake said.

The project has been estimated at Rs. 2,000 million. The money allocated per house was Rs. 325,000. The project was due to be completed by the end of 2011, he said.

Responding to a query, he said that only two out of the eight IDP camps functioned in  the North and so far 252,000 internally displaced people had been resettled.

"Nearly 19,000 internally displaced people are accommodated at Manik Farm and the Ministry is planning to resettle them as soon as the de-mining process is completed in Mulaitivu and Pudukudirippu areas," Basnayake said adding that nearly 60 per cent of land area remained to be cleared.

The government has started distributing cement, agricultural equipment and other essential items among the IDPs.

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