Claim: "When Modiji went to Sri Lanka he didn't forget the people of Jaffna. He went to the Tamil bastis and met his Tamilian brothers and sisters. He laid the foundation stone for providing them houses. Over 50,000 Tamilian families will get houses and damaged temples will be reconstructed." Shah said.
Fact: This statement is misleading.
On November 21, Union Home Minister, Amit Shah visited Chennai for a host of inaugurations related to development projects. While appreciating the Tamil Nadu government for their efforts in fighting COVID-19 and also mentioning the achievements of the NDA, he claimed that PM Modi had not forgotten the Tamil population living in Jaffna and said that he laid the foundation stone for the construction of houses and would be providing houses for over 50,000 Tamilians.
Although Shah's statements are valid, it conveniently leaves out major details of the scheme's inception. According to the Consulate General of India, the Indian Housing Project which is fully funded by the Government of India with a total outlay of $270 million, aims to support the resettlement and rehabilitation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) of Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka. This scheme was first announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the state visit of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to India in June 2010.
Under the first phase, construction of 1,000 houses had begun in November 2010 and was completed in July 2012, as per information available from the High Commission of India. An MOU was signed with the government of Sri Lanka regarding the modalities of implementation of the remaining 49,000 houses on January 17, 2012.
In the second phase, the construction of 45,000 houses was launched on October 2, 2012 and the work was completed in December 2018.
The NDA government stepped in during the third phase in which they constructed 4,000 houses for estate workers in the Central and Uva Provinces. This phase of the project was signed in April 2016 and the work commenced in October 2016.
On May 12, 2017, the fourth phase was launched where PM Modi announced an additional 10,000 houses for estate workers and the agreement was formalized in August 2018.
As per December 31, 2019, more than a total of Sri Lankan rupee (LKR) 31 billion has been disbursed by the Government of India under the Indian Housing Project.
India has also assisted in implementing other development projects since 2009. These include supply of boats and fishing equipment to fisherfolk of Vaharai, provision of five units of Rail-Bus to connect Batticaloa and Trincomalee, setting up of twenty E-learning centers across the eastern province to promote IT literacy in rural areas, among many others. The cost of these projects is estimated at LKR 1.1 billion in the eastern province.