Sri Lanka estate workers get Indian aid for homes

Nov 10, 2010 (LBO) – India will build 5,000 homes for workers on Sri Lanka’s plantations in the central hills which are a key sector of the island economy, a statement from the Indian High Commission said. Indian High Commissioner Ashok Kantha announced the stepping up of Indian assistance for people in the hill country during a recent visit to the area, it said.

The Indian government will build 5,000 new housing units for estate workers as part of a larger commitment for construction of 50,000 houses mainly for people displaced by war in the north and east.

During Kantha’s visit 20 buses were donated to Annai Kothai Entrepreneur to develop transport infrastructure for estate workers living in remote areas in the plantation sector.

India will also help improve medical infrastructure in the area and in the next few weeks start building a 150-bed hospital in Dickoya, a tea growing region, the statement said.

Plantation workers in Sri Lanka’s central hills, mostly on tea estates, are descendants of labourers brought from south India during British colonial times and the community is considered to have close links with India.

Tea has long been Sri Lanka’s main export commodity and now