India and Sri Lanka today exchanged letters to construct 4000 houses in the Central and Uva Provinces under a community driven-model as the third phase of the Indian Housing Project in Sri Lanka.The letters were exchanged by Y.K. Sinha, High Commissioner of India and P. Thigambaram, Minister of Hill Country New Villages, Infrastructure and Community Development at the Ministry of Hill Country New Villages, Infrastructure and Community Development. As per the agreement, 4000 houses will be constructed through the Estate Workers Housing Cooperative Societies (EWHCS). EWHCS in consultation with the beneficiaries will facilitate construction of houses. The High Commission of India would release payment of a total of SLR 950,000 per house in four tranches, linked to the physical progress, directly to the special bank account operated by the EWHCS. The beneficiaries will be selected through a transparent and norm-based process on the basis of clearly defined and objective criteria. The project will be implemented in close consultation with the Ministry of Hill Country New Villages, Infrastructure & Community Development and Plantation Human Development Trust. (Colombo Gazette) The Government of Sri Lanka has earmarked an area of 7 perches per family for 1134 houses and hence 1134 houses will be taken up for construction initially. Government of Sri Lanka is also undertaking steps to transfer the ownership of the land in the names of the beneficiaries.These 4000 houses to be constructed in the Central and Uva Provinces are a part of Government of India’s overall commitment to construct 50,000 houses in Sri Lanka. The services of four Implementing Agencies (UN-Habitat, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Habitat for Humanity and National Housing Development Authority) who have been providing necessary technical assistance and support under the second phase involving construction of 45,000 houses in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, will be utilised for the Indian Housing Project in the Central and Uva Provinces.