pledges only pledges: Tittawella
By Frances Bulathsinghala
Many donors have backed out of their pledges since
the cost estimates of tsunami reconstruction were done and they
now realise the expense of the reconstruction projects they have
undertaken, senior presidential advisor Mano Tittawella said.
are only pledges. Nobody comes and gives money like that,"
he said. Mr. Tittawela, who heads the tsunami reconstruction task
force said the government's strategy was to carry out reconstruction
through agreements signed with donors who would be responsible for
the completion of the projects.
to him, the government will target six to nine months as the time
frame for the building of some 70,000 houses for tsunami victims.
He said plans for the construction of 40,000 houses had been finalised
with pledges signed by both foreign and local donors at a cost of
Rs. 500,000 per house.
Tittawella said 50 percent of the cost for reconstruction work had
been pledged largely by local donors including individuals.He said
the overall reconstruction which included water supplies, telecom
facilities, hospitals, railways and also the livelihood component
of supporting people affected by the tsunami was estimated at around
US $1.8 billion.
Tittawella said relief programmes so far had cost 200 million dollars
and it included temporary housing. Acknowledging that some schools
were still being occupied by displaced people, Mr. Tittawella pledged
they would be moved to temporary houses within a month.
Tittawella also pledged that whatever anyone said no new construction
would be allowed within the buffer zone of hundred metres from the
sea. He said the government was concerned about the rising prices
of building materials and was working out some arrangement with
importers.He said many countries had offered to provide building
materials and the government was in contact with them.
Tittawella said the revised plan of action for reconstruction would
be released on Tuesday.