Tuesday, July 23, 2024

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India supplements Transit Housing  Project at Madhu Shrine, with additional funds of Rs100 million 

July 03, Colombo (LNW): India is to provide an additional grant of Rs.100 million to complete the Low Cost Transit Housing Construction Project at Madhu Shrine, Mannar increasing its total grant to Rs 400 million, Indian High Commission announced today. 

High Commissioner of India Santosh Jha and Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development and Housing MW.S. Sathyananda signed and exchanged diplomatic letters on 02 July 2024 to formalize modalities related to the housing project at Madhu Shrine, Mannar.

 Responding to the challenges that arose in the economic landscape of Sri Lanka, Indian government had decided to infuse additional funds into nine ongoing grant projects in order to expeditiously complete them, while also minimizing the impact of the significant rise in cost of construction materials on the original scope of the projects. 

The Low Cost Transit Housing Construction Project at Madhu Shrine, Mannar, is among the said nine projects.  

 A total of 96 transit houses shall now be constructed with the Indian grant at Madhu Shrine that could be used by pilgrims visiting the shrine. The project is currently underway and the proposed transit houses are at various stages of construction.

 Former Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay laid the foundation stone on March 12  2021   for the construction of 144 transit housing units for pilgrims at the Shrine of Our Lady of Madhu in Mannar under an Indian grant assistance of Rs 300 million,

Pilgrims welcomed the project as many visit the Marian shrine two or three times a year. This, they told AsiaNews, is a significant step” and “a help of great value”.

The Indian High Commissioner also announced that more initiatives will be undertaken in the future to strengthen the longstanding friendship and bonds between the two neighbouring nations.

Minister Prasanna Ranatunga added that the Sri Lankan government is preparing to restore direct links between Jaffna and Chennai, suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“India is the largest source market for tourist traffic in Sri Lanka,” he explained. “However, due to the pandemic, tourists from India have stopped coming.”

This has led to the proposal of creating an ‘air travel bubble’ to revive tourism. “We look forward to launching this programme in the near future,” the Tourism Minister added.

Madhu, in the north-western Sri Lanka, was directly impacted by the country’s civil war and was, for a while, under the control of Tamil Tigers.

Since 1990 the Church has helped house thousands of people until the area near the shrine became a virtual refugee camp.

Despite being a non-military zone, the area was bombed in 2008, forcing the Church to close the shrine and move the statue of Our Lady to a safer place.

The latter returned on 15 August 2010, the feast of the Assumption day and of the historic pilgrimage to Madhu, welcomed by thousands of faithful, including non-Christians.

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