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India to rebuild Vanni schools, but promised houses yet to materialise

India will help in re-building 79 schools in the war-shattered Vanni, visiting Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said Monday.

The schools are located in Vavuniya, Mullaithivu and Kilinochchi, he told reporters.

India will also restore the famous Tirukoteeswaram Temple in Mannar, and has offered help in restoration of another ancient temple near Sampur.

Asked about the once much-vaunted, but crawling, Indian housing project, which he visited on Sunday, he agreed that the pace of progress was slow.

In over a year, a mere 52 of the first 1,000 houses meant for the war-affected Tamils in Palai have been built.

The grand scheme comprises a total of 50,000 houses. It was announced by Foreign Secretary S. M. Krishna last November.

The first houses will be handed over to beneficiaries “in the next few months” – though as Mr. Mathai observed the show house he visited has no kitchen chimney. The communal well is a long way away too.

See our earlier posts on the Indian-funded houses:

True to Sri Lankan form ... (Mar 2011)

The state is the main obstacle to developing Tamil areas (Dec 2010)

On the other hand, the two other Indian-funded projects that Mr. Mathai visited — the northern railway construction being handled by Indian public sector company IRCON, and the wreck removal project at the Kankasanthurai harbour — were said to be progressing ahead of schedule.

Earlier on Monday Mr. Mathai met Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and discussed a range of issues, including the question of a political solution to the Tamil question.

See The Hindu’s reports here and here.

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