State housing scheme at complete standstill

By Hiran Priyankara Jayasinghe

Work on a housing scheme launched for employees of a State-run estate in Bangadeniya, Chilaw, has come to a standstill much to the disappointment of the employees who were dreaming of occupying a house of their own.

The housing scheme on Martin Estate coming under the purview of the National Livestock Development Board (NLDB) was launched in July 2006 by Livestock Development Minister C.B.Ratnayake.

The project comprised 15 houses and the beneficiaries were promised ownership of the houses with water, electricity, an access road and a community centre provided, but the project has not been completed.

Ms. Geetha Kumarasinghe, one of the would-be beneficiaries told the Sunday Times that the launch of the project was held in a grand manner with the attendance of the Livestock Development minister.
Chaminda Pemalal, an NLDB employee said that he and his fellow employees had high hopes of owning their own houses as Rs. 2004 per month was being deducted from their salaries to meet the costs of construction.

Ms. A.D.Premawathie said that her daily wage was only Rs. 272 and she usually get work only for 15 to 20 days and therefore she could not afford to have the deduction made from her salary before occupying the house.

“If the deduction of the money is made after the house is provided it would not have been a problem,” she said. Indra Kumari, another employee said that the half-built houses have been exposed to the weather and even if they are completed there would be problems as already the structures have been exposed to the sun and rain.

An NLDB spokesman said that due to lack of funds the project has not been completed but as soon as the money was released the work would resume.

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