India has said that it is actively contributing to the rehabilitation process and restoration of infrastructure in the war-ravaged northern Sri Lanka as part of the "extremely close" relationship between the two sides.
New Delhi's contribution is based on priorities and requirements projected by the Sri Lankan side, Indian High Commissioner Ashok K Kantha said at a ceremony in Colombo to hand over cement consignments for the repair and renovation of houses in the North.
He said that as the reconstruction effort moved to the next stage, the government of India was actively providing assistance.
Kantha on Wednesday handed over to ULM Haldeen, Secretary in the Sri Lankan Ministry of Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services, the first lot of 10,000 cement bags out of the 400,000 being supplied by the government of India. They will be supplied in lots each day for the next 40-45 days.
The cement bags will be dispatched to various areas in North by authorities for distribution among the resettled population.
Each resettled family is expected to receive eight cement bags, which will be used for repair and renovation of their houses damaged during years of armed conflict in Sri Lanka.
These cement bags, along with an earlier supply of 530,000 Metal Roofing Sheets by India, are meant to contribute to reconstruction of dwellings for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the new areas of their habitation.
The total cost of the supplies of 400,000 cement bags is Sri Lankan Rs 200 million (USD 1.75 million), which is part of the SL Rs 12.5 billion grant announced in May 2009 by the Government of India for reconstruction activities.
The Indian High Commissioner also expressed the hope that the supplies would help the IDPs in rebuilding their lives.
Kantha said as the reconstruction effort was moving to the next stage, New Delhi was actively working on rehabilitation assistance directed at restoring the social, cultural and economic infrastructure in the northern Province.
This included a proposal for reconstruction and restoration of the damaged houses, hospitals and schools for the resettling the IDPs.
Besides, India has announced a Line of Credit of USD 425 million for reconstruction of the railway infrastructure linking northern tracks.
The High Commissioner said India and Sri Lanka enjoyed "extremely close and cordial relationship" and Indian contribution to the rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in northern region was a manifestation of this relationship.