17 January, 2021

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TNA Accuses Swaminathan Of Influencing MPs In ArcelorMittal Deal To Build Tin Houses

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has leveled serious allegations against the Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation and Hindu Affairs D M Swaminathan of attempt to influence the TNA members by calling several of them and urging them to support the controversial project to build 65,000 houses for the war displaced in the North and East.

D.M. Swaminathan -

D.M. Swaminathan

In a letter dated November 12, 2016 addressed to President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, the TNA Parliamentary group comprising 16 MPs said, “We were dismayed to find that Hon. D M Swaminathan has made personal telephone calls to several of us, inviting us to make a request for pre-fabricated houses in our respective electorates,” the letter said.

The letter was signed by R Sampanthan, Mavai Senathirajah, M A Sumanthiran, Selvam Adaikkalanathan, Seenithamby Yogeswaran, Nadesu Sivasakthi, S Shritharan, E Saravanapavan, D Sithadthan, Charles Nirmalanathan, K Thurairatnesingham, Shanthi Sriskandarasa, S Sivamohan, G Srineshan, K Kodeeswaran and S Viyalendran.

While highlighting that the TNA MPs elected from the North and the East largely represent the war affected Tamil people, the MPs reiterated their opposition to the pre-fabricated steel houses project funded by the French based company owned by Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal. “The Sectorial Oversight Committee on Rehabilitation took a unanimous decision on 10.11.2016 to reject the proposal to construct pre-fabricated steel houses and endorsed the alternate proposal put forward by the civil society,” the letter said.

The TNA MPs recalled that last year Minister Swaminathan announced the housing programme for 65,000 pre-fabricated steel house to be constructed by Arcelor Mittal, each house costing Rs. 2.1 million. “We strongly opposed this programme for several reasons; climatic unsuitability, flimsy construction, lack of durability, unjustifiable high cost,” the letter to Sirisena and Wickremesinghe said.

The TNA MPs reminded that ‘nevertheless’ they had made it very clear that their people desperately needed houses but the houses should be masonry houses which will cost less than half of the proposed pre-fabricated houses.

“We also worked with a group of civil society agencies and persons who generously contributed their time and expertise and forwarded an alternate proposal to be funded by a Consortium of local banks. This alternate proposal envisages the construction of 102,000 masonry houses at a cost of just under Rs. 1 million per house, and utilising local labour which would provide livelihood for a large number of people for a period of about 4 years,” the letter said.

The TNA MPs has therefore, called upon both the President and Prime Minister for remedial action over the matter, on grounds that the pre-fabricated steel houses are not suitable for the people in the North and East. “The Parliamentary Group of TNA which met yesterday, 11.11.2016 unanimously decided to address this communication to you, so that you will become aware that all of us are totally opposed to pre-fabricated steel houses and that the people be provided with the traditional brick houses in keeping with their culture and way of life. We request immediate remedial action in this regard,” the letter signed by the TNA MPs added.

The renewed opposition against the tin houses by the TNA comes just weeks after Supreme Court refused to grant leave to proceed with a Fundamental Rights petition challenging the construction of 65,000 houses in a project initiated by the Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs in the Northern Province. An individual by the name of Muhammed Fazl filed a Fundamental Rights Application stating that his rights as a citizen of Sri Lanka has been violated as the awarding of the tender to ArcelorMittal lacks legality. The Petitioner states that he made this Application in his own right and in the rights of the 65,000 homeless conflict-affected families in Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka and in the public interest, with the objective of safeguarding the rights and interests of the general public of Sri Lanka and securing due respect, regard for and adherence to the Rule of Law, the Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, and with a view to protecting the fundamental rights required to be respected, secured and advanced. However, dismissing the case, a Supreme Court two-judge-bench comprising Chief Justice K. Sripavan and Justice Upali Abeyratne made the order, observing that there is no legal basis to proceed with the petition.

In October, a multi-disciplinary group of professionals from across the country has urged the Government to expedite the process of retendering the project to build 65,000 houses in the North and East, while underscoring the need for the re-tendering to be carried out in an unbiased and transparent manner. The statement signed by Ahilan Kadirgamar, Piyal Ganepola, Chandra Jayaratne, Prof. Priyan Dias, S.C.C. Elankovan, Ramona Miranda, Iromi Perera, Arch. Sumangala Jayatillaka, Niyanthini Kadirgamar and Swasthika Arulingam said,

“We call on the government to expedite the process of retendering but do so in an unbiased and transparent manner that is in strict conformity with the procedures prescribed. It is especially important that the project is re-designed keeping the interests of the people and communities at the centre and ensures their substantive and meaningful participation and maximizes value for the local, provincial and national economy.” “For almost a year now a move by the Ministry of Resettlement to award a contract for 65,000 pre-fabricated steel houses for war-affected households to the multinational ArcelorMittal has raised many serious questions and public debate. Regrettably, despite the wide spectrum of concerns by a cross-section of voices, the government did not expeditiously review the project. Thus lengthening the wait of thousands of war-affected households for adequate housing,” the statement said.

In April, Northern Province Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran slammed the Sri Lanka government for keeping him in the dark over the programme to build 65,000 houses in the North and East provinces. Speaking to the Hindu, Wigneswaran expressed his frustration for being completely kept in the lurch and for the government’s failure to discuss matters pertaining to the construction of the houses. He emphasized that the government should have discussed the matter with him and other representatives of the Northern Province, instead of taking decisions in a manner where he and other people’s representatives in the North were kept in the dark. “No discussions were held,” he said.

Wigneswaran also added that the cost per house seemed extremely high, whereas he believes that for the cost of Rs. 21 million, they could build two to three houses. “Instead of 65,000, we can make 130,000 houses,” he added.

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Latest comments

  • 1
    10

    No contract has been awarded to Mittal

    • 12
      1

      Ranil’s UNP Jarapalanaya is every where – from north to South Corruption is rotting the country, while taxes are being piled onto the poor.

      Corrupt politicians are running riot and being rewarded with massive salary increases, and duty free car permits, and adding to the massive national debt.

      Now the idiot Raiv K is setting up a committee to monitor the Gigantic Natonal Debt.

      What we need is a committee to monitor corrupt politicians who are looting the country. Corrupt politicians are the ROOT CAUSE of the gigantic national debt and they need to be monitored.

  • 3
    18

    There not tin houses, but the houses of the future’

    Ignorence cannot be bliss forever.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    • 17
      1

      Dr. R. N.
      “There not tin houses, but the houses of the future’

      Ignorence cannot be bliss forever.”

      What is your share in the Booty?

      Ingnorance of all Elected members of the affected sure is surely a bliss in contrast to youe Wisdom.

      May I ask Why this Swamy is so keen to promote this tin shed that needs air conditioning in remote villages where the air is still pure but slightly warm. Where Your and our parents survived.

      Swamy may need AC in Colombo, but not a villager in the North. May I ask who is going to pay for the EC Bill. I can understand if he had in corporated Solar Panels on the Roofs of this Tin Shed so that the EC generated in used for AC.

      Levi.

      • 3
        8

        Levi,

        There are solar panels provided for these prefabricated houses.

        Dr.RN

    • 17
      0

      Rajasingham,

      Yup! You know better than the Engineering faculty. Perhaps they should appoint you to head that faculty – seems like the same Vet faculty that trained you on mind reading as you claimed, trained you on “divine-engineering” as well!

    • 10
      0

      Have you see the state of housing in India, let alone their questionable construction methods, Have you not seen the state of the houses gifted by India after 2009, more water seeping through than a sieve. These houses should last more than 5 years. When sri lanka has a good and solid construction industry, we outsources building to india why is that then ? MONEY, mush in the pockets of the deal makers and bad houses. we don’t want a dharavi in this country. (they are classed as houses in india)

      • 0
        0

        Malik,

        I visited the site where the Indian-gift houses were built in Iyakachchi a few years back. The concrete blocks crumbled in my hands. There was much more sans than cement in these blocks. .That housing scheme was a mass deception. The contractors and subcontractors cheated the donars and recipients left, right and centre.

        Did any of our ‘now very concerned politicians and commentators’ visit this site?

        Dr.RN

    • 3
      6

      Correction: They are not—

      Dr.RN

    • 14
      1

      There are not houses but solar powered oven of the future. If you want your bread or cake baked or even your self baked please come and visit us in our tin house. DR. Rajasingham Narendran and his pets will be soon living in one of these future solar powered ovens. Kill the remaining Tamils by baking them alive with free solar power. So energy efficient.

    • 14
      0

      Dr Narendran,
      Before accusing others of ignorance, please look at the simple facts.

      1) Why pay more than twice the cost of a conventional house
      2) As the article says above “In October, a multi-disciplinary group of professionals from across the country has urged the Government to expedite the process of retendering the project to build 65,000 houses in the North and East” Now are you saying the group of professionals from all over the country are ignorant?
      3) Would you exchange your house for a ‘house of the future’ made of steel which comes with a 10 year warranty after which you have no idea of the cost of importing the materials and expertise required for maintaining it?

      I know TNA has been making lots of foolish statements every other day. But that doesn’t mean you should dismiss them when they occasionally say something that really makes sense!

    • 7
      0

      Dr RN,
      Dont you think it is better house more ( double the number)people ?

      • 3
        7

        Anpu,

        Have you seen and been inside the concrete houses that are built or financed by the government, for the homeless, war affected and the displaced in the north and east?

        I have been inside them.

        Dr.RN

    • 8
      1

      Dear Dr. Narendran,
      Your comment is grossly unfair. Most of these affected people lived in brick walled tiled houses, which had been deliberately destroyed by Security forces either through aerial bombing or flattened by bull dozing. Therefore they deserved to be given back their original due if the government is sincere in justice and reconciliation.
      Regarding pre-fabricated houses, there were a few constructed in Borella about 50 years ago at the end of Bullers Road near Kanatte. People who did not have any houses accepted them, but after few years they protested and the government got rid of them never to try it again on Sinhalese. Now the same trick is being tried on Tamils.
      In the world market steel prices are tumbling due to cheaper steel being flooded by China. Tata’s factory in UK collapsed and this is the same for Arcello-Mittal in France, who are trying to dump some steel into Srilanka. Somebody somewhere has got his pocket full. This needs to be investigated fully for the sake of transparency.
      Why is Swaminathan in a mighty hurry to get this project executed. Some Tamils may think something is better than nothing and accept it, but that does not mean that these houses are voluntarily taken. Government is talking about grass root level devolution and if so why is that it is not allowing people to decide what they want.

      • 0
        5

        Dear Dr.Sankaralingam,

        The technology has improved by leaps and bounds in the past fifty years. Please check ‘ Prefabricated houses’ , ‘ Roof& wall insulation materials/ panels and rust anti-rust coated steel’ on the Google to read the derails and the science underlying these developments. You will be stunned by what is t7sking place in that field.

        Dr. RN

    • 4
      0

      The Mittal cage proposal is a swindle about which much has been said already.
      What makes it even more suspect are the kinds of deception that DMS is indulging in. A week ago he got Mano G to declare that many TNA MPs want the Mittal cages; and poor Mano G had to make a hasty retreat.

      Defending the cages is one matter, but defending the conduct of DMS is quite another. It is sad, since he once had a ‘clean’ image.

  • 23
    2

    Prefabricated steel housing is not suitable for sri lanka because it attracts heat, whatever any construction expert says.
    Furthermore it is being promoted by an absolute fraudster who should have been behind bars 10 years ago.
    Whats the difficulty in giving the people a proper house built with brick and mortar???
    I think someone is eyeing a fat commission and the people of the North are going to be screwed again.
    Well done TNA, dont let it happen.

    • 2
      10

      Please study the modern skyrises being built in Colombo. The insulated panels reduces the heat load and bring down the air conditioning costs.

      The tempemerature inside what are being called ‘ Tin Houses will be atleast 5 C less than the concrete block houses.

      Dr.RN

      • 10
        0

        Really? Can you let me now where you got this information from?

        • 2
          8

          Check publications in Google or new text books on the subject.

          Dr.RN

          • 9
            0

            if it is that easy to find it in google, why not post a link that confirms your following statement regarding the steal houses that are to be constructed in Sri Lanka “… atleast 5 C less than the concrete block houses…”

            A single link from an authoritative source would be very helpful. Alternatively if you are quoting from a ‘Text Book’ please give details of the book and page number etc.

            Sorry I didn’t mean to say you were just making things up. But the internet is full of people making baseless claim so taking the above steps will let everyone know you claims have some merit

            • 2
              5

              I have done so many times before!

              Dr.RN

              • 4
                0

                Sorry Dr Rajasingham Narendran?
                What have you done so many times before? Making claims without backing them up with any evidence? :-)

                • 0
                  4

                  I have given references and links.

                  Dr.RN

                  • 2
                    0

                    Great Dr Narendrand! If you have been done this before, then what is stopping you from doing it in this case may I ask? :-)

                    As you are a Dr obviously you have an academic background, I don’t have to tell you about the importance of backing up any claims with sources. Unless the whole claim is a mistake which I suspect is the case due to your reluctance to cite a single link or a ‘Text book’.

                    • 0
                      2

                      humam,

                      Google my name along with the subject matter and you will have access to the links and references I have provided before. Further, Google ‘ modern prefabricated houses for the hot and humid tropics’ to see photographs, floor plans, advertisements with costs and scientific data and publications relating to various factors. Variants of the theme we are discussing will yield further valuable information.

                      It is time to cease being a lazy armchair critic.

                      Dr.RN

                  • 2
                    0

                    Dr. RN
                    I can google and find plenty of information about prefabricated houses. But I can’t find anything that backs up your following claim.

                    “The tempemerature inside what are being called ‘ Tin Houses will be atleast 5 C less than the concrete block houses.”

                    Since you are not so lazy, how about backing it up by citing your sources if you really have any?

                    You have now given quite a few replies in this conversation while you continue to refuse to cite any source.

                    Why don’t you silence this ‘armchair critic’ by backing up your claim with a single credible source? Surely it can’t be that hard to provide a link or refer to one of those ‘new text books’ that you seem to have studied. Why do you want to keep these as secrets?

                    • 2
                      0

                      I am no expert in prefabricated houses and their tempratures. But after looking at this exchange, it looks extremely likely that DR RN has made a false claim to support his argument and is now caught redhanded when someone called his bluff. I am not too interested in such technical matters, But it gives us a clue that Dr RN is so desparate to defend Swaminathan that he has started making false statement risking permenent damange to his own credibility. Why Dr? What made you go that far? Is it really worth it?

      • 8
        1

        Dr you are proposing an idiot idea,

        theses poor people canot afford the electric bills and water bills,
        with you are talking about Air conditioning and
        any bloody fool knows that they cant live in steel containers in a country like sri lanka, the salmon tins are not suitable for our weather conditions
        within ten years they get corroded and will fall down,

        I have the experiences of those tin houses as I lived in those
        ovens and deep freezers in sri lanka work sites and middle east and Singapore jurong east.

        “Wigneswaran also “says that the cost per house seemed extremely high, whereas he believes that for the cost of Rs. 21 million, they could build two to three houses. “Instead of 65,000, we can make 130,000 houses,”

        In that case TNA guys says are Correct.

      • 9
        2

        Dr. RN you seem to be answering every single critic on this page, WHY??? Something does not smell right.
        What is so important to YOU, that this deal goes through???
        Answer one question, Is it not promoted by a fraudster????
        I have warehouses which are prefabricated steel with paneling, i can confirm that the brick and mortar housing will be cooler.

        • 2
          6

          Anpu,

          Have you seen and been inside the concrete houses that are built or financed by the government, for the homeless, war affected and the displaced in the north and east?

          I have been inside them.

          Dr.RN

          • 8
            0

            Rajasingham,

            Do you know how much the concrete houses cost relative to Mittal houses (including foreign debt implications), how inexpensive it would be to redesign them for better ventilation, and how durable, how flexible for custom additions/modifications and how maintenance-efficient(little risk of wholesale replacement in as short as five years) the concrete houses would be?

            Remember your past assurances based on similar misplaced if not over-bloated confidence on your ability and skills which all turned out to be nothing but hot-air – e.g. your confidence in MR based on your mind-reading skills you assumed you had mastered from Vet school; the ground reality that you claimed monopoly on in asserting that Tamils in the North were “happily smiling and walking about” grateful to MR and Gota for the wonderful development work and opportunities and a promising future they had given the Tamils?

            You wanted the Diaspora to refrain from remitting funds to “family and friends” and instead divert them to MR’s family and friends!

            You further castigated and warned the Diaspora to desist from seeking any international intervention to assist the desperate barb-wire trapped civilians who were horrendously denied basic human rights by the MR/Gota regime!

            Would you deny any of this?!

        • 5
          0

          Come on Tungsan Yu!
          Please don’t blame Dr.Rajasingham Narendran for answering questions. Isn’t that a good thing. By the way he certainly hasn’t answered ‘every single questions’ yet as he seems to have ignored my first comment with three questions and given me the standard ‘google it’ style response for the second one to which I have posted a follow up questions. As I am eagerly awaiting his answers please don’t discourage him. After all if he has found valuable information from ‘new textbooks’ and ‘google’ that a large body of professionals from across the country have missed, it would be a great service to share such valuable information

    • 11
      1

      It must be noted that Mital is one of the major steel companies in the world. They need to find market for their steel in any shape or form.

      I am no engineer and claim not to be one. Life under a tin roof or steel in SL heat – well, one does not need to be a rocket scientist to fathom how hot it would be!

      Swaminathan appears to be a stooge of RW with no mind of his own, sans any common sense. This guy was brought through the national list by RW to show the rest of the world that there is a Tamil with Northern roots in his cabinet!!!!!

      • 2
        7

        Nic,

        There is a difference between plain tin roofs and insulated metal roofs and wall panels. The roof and wall panels in the houses are insulated. What matters us the type of insulation material used.

        Further, the Engineering Faculty of the Peradeniya Uninversity found these houses suitable , in contrast to the Moratuwa University. Which is right?

        Dr. RN

        • 8
          1

          None of them can be other than your convoluted talks.

          Before politicizing,a sincere study Moratuwa University. After politicizing, to undermine Moratuwa engineering schools’ study, UNP paid up study is the one Peradeniya studies.

          What is PhD you did in insulating the metal house and making equal to make them cheap and whether conditioned to conventional material. Instead of seeing that in the Google if you know a damn thing of these engineering matters can you bring it here to discuss?

          Why the untrained and uneducated Northern crowd is given another chance to learn on their money on their property with their effort and build these houses? Why borrowing if the country is inundated in loans? Give them their job, give them their due money let them design and let them build.

          When Sampanthar tried to get land from army in Prapanchan you labeled him as Barricade breaker. You climbed in CT you have got back your relatives and friends lands back from army. Army is giving one land and taking another land for two years from to the actual owners the the political owners – the thieves. People has been been denied for two years to get their land, but are you trying tell they are want a house assembled in one night?

          This only a plot to get the votes out of TNA and colonize Sinhalese with excused as building houses for displaced Tamils. Check and see if there is any clue for that in Google.

        • 4
          1

          With all due respect to Peradeniya, I think that the Pdn team did an unethical hatchet job for the government to overturn the verdict of a well researched study by a competent Moratuwa team of architects/engineers.

          Whether a structure is stable etc. is a technical question. Whether it is habitable or suits a people is a far bigger issue.

          The people had no say in the matter as it involves big money and big bribes.

  • 2
    13

    I think the problem here, that this contract did not give any piece of it to TNA mps who are excess to represent Tamils.

    • 8
      2

      I think the problem here is that BBS terrorists want to get involved in the project. As Jim says , it’s all on Yioutube.

  • 9
    1

    Gr8 Swami, fatten your pockets at the cost of the poor displaced people of the North & East.
    The local agent for Mittal group is a well known fraudster & is one of MR’s catchers.
    Of course he is in ‘grace & favor’ as he has cottoned on to the Minister of so called projects, who is another swindler.
    Disgraceful behaviour & you call yourself a Tamil from a distinguished family?
    Your ancestors must be rolling around in the mighty ocean.

  • 13
    1

    What sort of idiots would want metal houses in the Dry Zone???

    If they are serious about this or can justify their proposal, they should prove it by living in a sample house during the hottest time of the year in the North and East.

    No doubt a sizable commission is what motivates Swaminathan.

    • 7
      1

      Swmininathan used to be seen wearing a blue shirt in the company of MaRa when he ruled the roost with cohorts likeWimal Buruwanse and others of his ilk not very long ago.
      That is enough to asses the likes of the man.

  • 11
    0

    Why is Minister Swaminathan is adamant in trying to thrust these houses on the North East Tamils when their people’s representatives are opposed to these houses?

    This would make anyone wonder whether he is getting a cut or commission from the deal from this Indian tycoon’s company. Is it because of the commission that is promised either to him or to someone else that he is going out of the way to woo the Tamil MPs to back the project?

    Swaminathan cannot decide what is good for the people in North East. He is not representing North East Tamils. I do not think he ever lived in the hot and arid North East. He is an affluent Colombo based Tamil belonging to Colombo’s rich man’s UNP club.

    MP Sumanthiran has clearly explained in Parliament with facts and figures that these houses are very costly and are not at all suitable. CM Wigneswaran has said two to three houses could be built for the Rs 21 million to be spent for each of these tin sheds Swaminathan wants to construct through the Indian tycoon’s company.

    I wish the President stop this contract heeding the protests from the TNA MPs, CM Wigneswaran, and leading civil society representatives.

    I am surprised that guys like Narendran are supporting Swaminathan’s project saying these are houses of the future. When did this Vet become an expert in housing?

  • 2
    9

    Naga,

    When did you and the likes of you become experts in housing. At least I have studied environmental physiology, involving human/animal reponses to heat , cold and humidity,as part of my post-graduate studies . This involved building materials , their insulating properties, ventilation, beating and cooling. I also know to seek, read and understand. I also taught environmental physiology at the undergraduate level and have done research involving the subject,

    I also lived in Saudi Arabia for thirty years and while there lived in a pre-fabricated bangalow type house for many years and have also seen simpler , insulated prefabricated housing. These houses require very litle maintenance and are durable. This is seen from the warranty being offered.

    I think the TNA is being idiotic on this issue. If they want better insulation and sunshades around these houses, they should request it. This would be positive and an intelligent approach. Further, this will create a verandah around the house, which our people are used to. A verandah with an insulated roof would also make the house cooler, but a little darker.

    Do not forget that we are ‘Naked Apes’ as described by Desmond Morris in his similarly titled legendary book. As a Veterinarian, I sometimes wonder whether we or the rest of the lives around us are the better ones! They are rarely mean!

    Dr.RN

    • 8
      0

      Dr. RN,

      I haven’t had the time to look at the different issues involved. But my concern is on a different front: because building houses is such a basic construction activity, why is the GoSL going to an Indian company, instead of using multiple local companies who could even provide employment to IDP’s and others in this project?

      In the time they have spent arguing over the Indian project for several months, they could have built a few homes of different types and tested the comparative benefits in more detail before doing it on a large scale.

      • 1
        5

        Agni’s,

        We do not have the technology to mass produce and install fast. Further, there are Chinese companies that mass produce and install, but do not yet provide the additional features and the warranty Arcellir-Mitall has offered- from what i have seen on paper.

        Please check the range of pre-fabricated houses the| Chinese offer, through a Google check. They cover the entire spectrum – small to palatial ; simple/plain to the luxurious.

        Dr.RN

        • 3
          0

          Dr. RN,

          I have heard about such homes being used in some zones, usually in the parts of cities where the income level is low, in the US. The cost is half of what standard brick or wooden homes would cost.

          It may make sense in some areas, but it is not a good idea to have endless rows of such homes. Having such homes may bring down the value of normal homes nearby.

          It seems to me the GoSL should pay the money directly to the people to whom it is intended, advise them on different types of housing, and see how many people want to go with the prefabricated homes. If enough people want, they can pool their purchasing power and negotiate discounted contracts with the Indian company.
          For others who want to build their own homes, the GoSL and NPC should help them find the local contractors and advise on costs, materials, etc. That way no one can accuse anyone of doing this for a commission, kickback, etc.

          • 1
            3

            Agnos,

            I agree. There should have been a mix of designs for these houses. Considering the numbers involved this should have been possible, without increasing the cost. Further, the option could have been offered to the recipients to pave for any changes/ additions they require within a period of two years at prefixed prices on a pre-determined basis.

            This is the way to deal with issues in a positive and progressive manner.

            Dr.RN

            • 1
              0

              We have a simple choice here.

              A) Houses as twice the cost with 30 year warranties that can be mass produced fast.

              B) Traditional houses at half the cost which would last much longer

              It is the affected people who have to make the choice, so ask their representatives, the NPC or TNA

              If they choose A then Swaminathan and Dr RN is happy If they choose B then the government saves half the money that could be invested elsewhere, plenty of Job opportunities to the local people etc.

              If people really wanted A then NPC or TNA gave them B then it is the TNA who will be held accountable and get kicked out in the next election by their on people. No swaminathan. So why is swaminathan so adamant. Because he cares so much about the poor people who need to get their houses fast? really? Is anyone in sri lanka gullible enough to even dream such a possibility?

              So where is the problem here? When the representatives of the people as for a cheaper alternative that saves the government money and give more employment to the local people, isn’t it a no brainer?

  • 14
    0

    There is a simple solution. First of all, Mr. Swaminathan should meet the NPC Chief Minister who is the legitimate people representative and have a discussion and arrange an expert opinion using local, national and international experts what is the best option to bulid houses that is suitable and meet the requirements of the needed considering various aspects including long term climate effects, economic feasibility and technical feasibility. People participation is very important for success. TNA may be right or wrong but they are the legitimate representatives of the people. What authority Dr. Narendran to say that TNA is being idiotic? Every fools think others are fools like them.

  • 5
    3

    When UNP and SLFP robbed Central Bank Emil Mahendran took the name. Old King was charged that he had jacked up the prices for contracts 2 times. This Swamynathan has jacked up the prices of these houses 3 times of the normal construction. Then crying through the nose that he is not benefiting out of this and Tamil Modayas has to believe him? That is like a prostitute playing the role of Kannaki in the Chilapathikaram drama. Further it is adding to additional loans while UNP is balming it is going to take 100 years to pacy back the Hambantota white elephant projects. Why these coolie Tamils are doing these shameful acts for Sinhala Governments. Because there is nobody to whip these high class Tamil coolies with Thirukkaivaal.
    .

  • 10
    1


    DR DR DR. you say
    “I think the TNA is being idiotic on this issue”.
    THey are not, but you are being idiotic on this issue.

    “”””I also lived in Saudi Arabia for thirty years and while there lived in a pre-fabricated bangalow type house for many years and have also seen simpler , insulated prefabricated housing. These houses require very little maintenance and are durable. This is seen from the warranty being offered””.

    DOCTAAARE;
    For your information and education, from an O/L educated layman in Trincomalee.

    Now I am writing this from Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and living in Riyadh. [in SALBUKH Ministry of Interior Special forces Head quarters] in a Double insulated with fiber And polystyrene sheeted tin house made by Kirby and Al zamil,
    In summer we need extreme Air conditioning and in winter we need Heating very badly. In Saudi Arabia every where they use HVAC.
    so your expertise and theories not applicable to Sri Lankan Sardine tin houses to be built in Our people in north and east.

    in 1982 I was working with BBC [Power plant people] and they had same pre fabricated tin houses and maintained properly.
    now they are not there as nobody canot use them after 6 7 years as rust and corrosion invaded.

    So, what about our weather conditions and wind pattern.
    kachan kaaththu will take them high skys, houses will fly away.

    Our Traditional Houses are better than Trojan Horses.
    it is sham of your Ignorance of our GAMEY KAMA..

    • 2
      5

      Julampitiya Amaraya,

      Yes. What you say is true. The prefabrication technology has been adapted to the Saudi desert conditions-extreme cold and heat. The units have few windows. The air-conditioning or heating required is minimal, in terms of the extreme heat or cold, because of the insulation used.

      The prefabricated housing principles can be adapted to many climates and conditions. They can be designed for the very cold climes and the very hot climes. It is the nature of the insulation, its thermal conductivity properties and thickness that matter.

      Aren’t the mud brick built houses cooler inside than concrete block built houses? Aren’t the clay tiled houses cooler than the galvanized steel or asbestos roofed houses in Sri Lanka? In the early 1980’s I built my house in Jaffna with clay square bricks with holes manufactured in Oddisuddan. This was the first time these bricks were tried in my area and even the masons were skeptical and expressed fears that the walls will not be strong. We told them to build a small section and try breaking it. They could not do it easily as the cement between the bricks had penetrated the air holes in the bricks and provided a wedging effect. The walls withstood shrapnel and human vandalism during the war, while everything else was damaged or looted. I have rebuilt this house and find it much cooler in the summer than others around. The bricks with the trapped air has excellent insulation. Air is the best insulator.

      I am telling this story to illustrate that people in general are skeptical of anything new and they have to be convinced with facts to accept and go forward. This was true for every progressive step mankind had to take!

      The Sri Lankan conditions do not require air conditioning or cooling for the housing and the people they are designed for. Windows and fans would be sufficient.

      Look at the advertisements for the China-made pre-fab units. They will design for Lankan specifications. The Arcellor-Mittal units on offer are also similarly designed.

      Dr.RN

  • 8
    1

    Palms are being oiled at the highest level by Arcelor Mittal.
    This is usual in Sri Lanka.
    This is the problem.
    Swaminathan is a stooge who needs to ‘toe the line’ to keep his post.

    People have lived in brick & mortar houses, with solid foundations for centuries and prefer them.
    Earlier plans did not have foundations and even fire places or chimneys. Later these were included.

  • 8
    0

    I agree to a large extent with Ajith. Get all parties to a discussion with the people who are to benefit ,the Mittal Officials,Engineering Professionals,the TNA, old Wiggy, the Hon Minister and then discuss the subject and take a decision once and for all and proceed with what is best for the people and the Country in terms of comfort and Finances. If a decision cannot be agreed on, then put the findings of the discussion to the President and let him decide.

    I think there is an Ego problem on the part of those who are raising objections as they may not have been consulted by the Hon Minister when this decision was taken. Also they will not get any political clout on this project with the people, and that counts for their political future.
    What a bloody set of morons.

  • 0
    7

    Ajit,

    Beauty and ugliness are in the eyes of the beholder’s re7quurements , perceptions and objectives.

    Dr.RN

    • 6
      0

      What are you trying to say? Ugliest Lankawe crooks are Nirvana Buddha reincarnation, Mohamed, Reincarnation of Jesus, Gandhi, in your high end philosophical look?

      When you lose the point you always try to generalise like that to slip away. Instead of reading in Google, explain your philosophy how it fits into Ajit said, please!

  • 9
    2

    Oh my God. Many of these comments are utter rubbish, and very easy for the arm chair critics to write. Even the politicians and officials are utter fools and heartless to keep delaying and prolonging the immense and terrible hardships of these poor people

    First of all, right now, think of these poor suffering people who are housed in terrible conditions in those refugee camps without the basic facilities. In this situation, they are ready to move to any reasonable alternative homes.

    They are not asking for luxury mentions but basic houses with all the facilities to lead a normal life. So it’s the duty of the government and the human society to provide this basic need in order for them to restart their lives. Once they become strong, on their own, they would go for bigger and better homes, that’s human nature.

    Of course, Lakshmi Mittal is an Indian but his company ArcelorMittal is not an Indian company but it’s a French registered, European Union company. He owns only 38% of it’s shares and controls it, the rest of the shares are owned by the public. In France and the EU, no one could play balls, if any corruption, all would end up in the dock.

    When one consider of the country’s and present day world’s situation ArcelorMittal is God send for this project, in this bad world economy. Owing to the bad commodities prices, the depressed steel market leads them to pick up any business to survive until the world economy picks up. This is a good blessing for these people and the country.

    They are ready to fund this with long term and easy credit. It’s not a peanut and not that easy to find funds for 65,000 house, roughly USD. 1.5 Billion. Not many but only companies like ArcelorMittal has the muscle to do this.

    If these houses are acclimatized for the local conditions, and also given some assurance about their durability that’s it, catch them with their both hands and ask them to do it. Of course get fine and reputed team of joint local and international consultant to monitor the project to ensure that the job is done well.

    So, all the stake holders – the Presidents, PM, the ministers, TNA, NGOs and others – could sit down with ArcelorMittal and sort out all the issues to create a win, win situation for all, for it’s really a great sin prolonging the pain and suffering of these people. Not only houses but this project would generate lot of employment and provide livelihood for them as well. At last one suggestion, these houses should have solar power and rain water harvesting as well.

    • 4
      1

      Stop the nonsense.

      Swamynathan wants to build only 20,000 houses. TNA says it needs 120,000 houses.

      He is not ready to allow NPC work with him. They are people elected by these homeless. He is showing a fake statistics that 92,000 people want these tin houses. He did not ask NPC to conduct an opinion poll from the selected people who wants houses to select between cheap motor and concrete houses to this tin houses. That alone make clear of his game plan. Why is he not asking people what houses they want?

      In the west where hot summer and cold winter is present, they prefer wooden materials in their houses. Where in the world these the tins are tested?

      Accelor/Mittal is Luxembourg Company. These European companies are very famous in bribing Indian government officials and doing business there. The company is not very healthy situation. In the end if the company goes bankrupt, these poor ones going to be left in the middle of the river. There is no way parts these houses are manufactured in Lankawe for another century.

      Don’t write in false names. Write with your own name.

    • 3
      5

      Nimal,

      Thanks for this valuable and sensible input.

      Dr.RN

      • 3
        0

        That conartist is writing in multiple names and accidentally it is being favorable to you, Isn’t it Naren?

        Could that B A-nimal would be Shashath Swamynathan?

        Anyway why is he shy of giving out his full degree proudly like you? Swamynathan not educated like you? Is that why?

    • 4
      0

      “they are ready to move to any reasonable alternative homes.”
      If so then why spend twice as much as what would be required to build an ordinary houses with half the money zero controversy?

      “They are not asking for luxury mentions but basic houses”
      Then why not give them basic houses with which cost half as much?

      “Owing to the bad commodities prices, the depressed steel market leads them to pick up any business to survive until the world economy picks up. “
      If that is such a good deal, and if the houses are as good as they are claimed to be, then they would be already building and selling houses in Sri Lanka through the private sector. Nimal, would you want a house that costs twice as much and comes with a 30 year warranty period?

      You can blame the TNA if they are demanding more expensive houses. But they are asking for cheaper houses! But Swaminathan wants to spend more money! Is it rocket science to figure out where the problem is?

  • 10
    1

    Swaaminathan- Come Clean. Show us your pockets!! Metal houses for Jaffna? Where were you all these years. Cadjan/Palmirah are the best- Nothing like bricks and mortar. Return the advance to Mittal. bye- Nihal Gunatilake

  • 6
    2

    Narendran

    Your reply is pathetic. I never claimed in my comment that I am expert in housing and I am not. I never volunteered any view on the suitability of these houses. I was only commenting why this guy Swaminathan is adamant in trying to thrust these houses described as tin sheds on the North East Tamils. Most of the opponents of these houses are saying that these are tin sheds and are not at all suitable for the climate of North East Sri Lanka.

    Further arguments against Swaminathan’s house are that if there is a repair to be done, they will not have the required materials and that this type of pre-fabricated house cannot be expanded. Most people in Sri Lanka build their houses by brick and cement which are expandable.

    Definitely there is something sinister behind this guy Swaminathan’s persistent efforts to give this contract to the Indian tycoon’s company.

    But you are saying that these are the houses of the future. That is the reason why I raised the question whether you are an expert in housing. Moratuwa University experts have stated that these houses are not at all suitable for the climate of North East Sri Lanka. Against this expert opinion, you being a Vet is claiming that these are houses of the future.

    You mentioned that you have lived in Saudi Arabia for 30 years. Does this give you expertise on housing and houses? I too had lived and worked in Middle East for many years.

    Do you think that your studies in environmental physiology makes you an expert in housing? Don’t be stupid Narendran.

    More than the suitability of Swaminathan’s houses, the important issue is the cost. It is stated each of these houses will cost Rs.2.1 million whereas a house of the same floor space could be constructed for well under one million. TNA’s Summanthiran and others are not saying this without valid data.

    Or, is it the case that you will always blindly support whatever this government is doing? Slavish minded Tamils and sycophants from the North like you, are the bane of the Tamil society. Whenever even reasonable suggestions are made on behalf of the Tamils, Tamils like you, will put forward an opposing view that is in support of the interests of the Sri Lankan governments and its Ministers. In this case, you have become a staunch supporter of this arrogant guy Swaminathan, whose ego prevents him from accepting the reality that these houses are being rejected by Tamil leaders and Tamil civil society members.

    • 6
      1

      Naga,
      Everyone knows where the money goes, except some self appointed experts/stooges of the Military Regime, in the north who are under threat of eviction from their lands and homes.

  • 5
    1

    It is Narendran who is idiotic and not TNA. During Mara’s regime he batted for Mahinda Rajapaksa justifying his hard-line stand on Tamils rights. I remember he describing one of his visit to the North after the end of the war where he saw people freely moving and full of smiles. Now he is batting for Swaminathan who is based in Colombo. I have a very low opinion, bordering contempt, of any Tamil who supported a racist like Mahinda Rajapaksa. The TNA and the NPC represents the people and they should be heard on major projects like housing. Swaminathan is hell bent to build these pre=fabricated houses come what may. Why? Did he invite tenders before he picked up Accelor/Mittal? If not why not? Accelor/Mittal may be based in Luxembourg, but Mittal is the majority shareholder the Company. In other words he controls the Company. Swaminathan who is a National list MP appointed by the UNP should not ride roughshod over the wishes of elected representatives of the Tamil people. In fact he owes his Minister’s post to TNA which declined to accept cabinet portfolios before finding a just and equitable solution to the ethnic conflict.

  • 3
    0

    Why can’t we introduce an open transparent tender process? with submission of price & technical quality details would identify potential competitors. The top five in the selected list to construct a model-house (Metallic or Brick building) in the proposed area; it should be assessed by expertise without any political interferences, then the IDPs (beneficiaries) also consulted and their views too accommodated before the awarding the scheme.
    Impotent factors: Durability/or design life, cost effective (value for money) and the resource (sponsors) for the scheme.

  • 2
    0

    Ado Crook

    What is the amount of the bribe you took.

    Explain, GOBAYa.

  • 0
    2

    Siva,
    How can this happen when the Central Bank Bond Scam culprit has not yet been named?
    This regime has become worse than the last one, which demanded 50% on
    tenders as revealed by Chandrika.
    Does Swaminathan also benefit – is what people are asking.

  • 3
    0

    Mr Swaminathan and Dr Rajasingham should test the houses by living in them for a year and giving us a report.

    • 0
      3

      Mansion,

      Please arrange one to be installed in the location i select in Jaffna.. I will live in it for more than a year, if required. However, if the house must be removed without a trace or damage to the land at the end of the experimental period.

      Dr.RN

      • 2
        0

        Dr. Narendran
        Why should Mansoor select for you?
        It is Minister Swaminathan who is proposing to construct the Arccellor/ Mittal houses on the land he says is ready for construction. for the war displaced people in the N&E.
        If you are so sure of of the benefit of the said houses why not set an example to convince all those doubters as to the suitability by living in it for the period of time you say you would and why should you bother selecting It in Jaffna?

        • 0
          2

          Uthungsn,

          I am not displaced or homeless. Mansoor suggested that I be part of an n experiment. I agreed and set my term as to the location. I will also measure and record relevant data during the experimental period.

          I do not live in Jaffna, but outside it in a sparsely populated area. The objective of the experiment is the liveability of the prefabricated houses in the peninsula climate and not my preference as to the location within Jaffna. Where I live now can be the control in the experiment.

          Dr.RN

  • 2
    3

    What are the facts of the steel insulated houses offered on a long term loan to Sri Lanka

    Arcellor mittal is giving the loan leveraged by HSBC

    Can anybody give such a loan at this juncture at this rate? -Answer is no.!!!

    Acellor Mittal is giving the Housing units at this cheap price because they cant sell their houses due to the Chinese dumping steel in the world market

    Arcellor mittal is an EU conglomerate based in UK & France
    Mittal only has 38 % of the Company shares .

    This company has nothing to do with Indian Steel

    These houses are super insulated with a Type of foam used in the housing industry.

    Arcellor Mittal is providing Furniture and ,Solar panels ,Gas cooker pantry cupboards and TV and Computers to all house owners.

    Thai is why the cost is so high

    If the extras are removed and only the house is given then it will cost less than a Million.

    Already Two model houses are functioning with water supply as well.

    The people who dwell in then like it.

    The Ultimate beneficiaries will enjoy these facilities free of charge.

    If the Arcellor Mittal deal falls flat then there will be no more unsolicited bids in future.

    The question is are these houses too sophisticated for the Northern peasants?

    If so give them to the Malayaha Tamils who will appreciate the luxury of the houses.

  • 5
    0

    Houses built with tiled roof,Brick walls and fitted with French windows
    (for more of air flow) will ideally suit the climatic conditions in the North and cannot understand as to how the people who commented above, including level headed Dr. N Rajasingham do not seem to under-
    stand why other forms do not suit the climatic condition prevailing in the North. Why not follow the norm of building conventional houses as
    done in the past with a purpose.The contractor Arcelor Mittal is a company based in France, Europe and one could just imagine the cost,
    a European company would have quoted. If they have quoted a lower price to compete with the other bidders, one could just imagine the quality of the material and technique they have planned to use.

    These houses are meant for the war displaced poor and not for the elites of the North and style and technology do not matter much but only the durability that matters as they look for a roof above their heads and airy, cooler room/s. One should think about the economy of the country and cut costs, where ever possible on govt. projects and make better use of the grants other countries give.Tiles and bricks could be made in the South at a much lower cost and businesses prosper within the country, satisfying both the Southerners and Northerners, politically.

    M/S Sambanthan, Sumanthiran & Mavai Senathi… of TNA are no fools to
    protest on the housing project as they have discussed the matter fully with the locals and minister Swaminathan too is not a fool to recommend
    pre-fabricated steel houses for furnace like North but there must be pressure exerted on him.The French company is owned by powerful Indian/
    British steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, a Billionaire, like Donald Trump
    and naturally there must be pressure coming down the line, through Delhi. There is a saying beggars are no choosers, so opinions of the people destined to live in these houses were not considered and TNA of cause is considered a mild opponent and our CM,NPC does not talk when required, tho’ this subject comes under his jurisdiction.

  • 0
    0

    Periya Dorai – Prabhakaran inna wanga- Adichcha Sinna Dorai. Ask him to return the money. KP

  • 3
    0

    Government divide the Tamil politicians and make them fight whenever a project is proposed for the benefit of Tamils. In the end nothing will materialise and poor Tamils will be the Loosers. History shows several such instances.

    In this case Swaminathan Sumanthiran Sampanthan and other Tamil politicians don’t loose anything. They will continue to live in their costly residences in Colombo. Jayawewa!!

  • 1
    1

    Lanka Watch

    You wont understand

    When the CM and TNA leadership live in luxury in Colombo why they dont want sophisticated houses for the IDPs??

    When the TNA dont get any benefit from the building process because locals are not involved in the building and therefore cant give kickbacks to the party??

    You will never understand !!!

    • 0
      0

      Liverpool Suddha,

      Pls note that CM,NPC lives in Jaffna and TNA
      leadership lives in Colombo, in accommodation provided by the govt.,
      only for the purpose of attending Parliament but they often visit their
      electorates in N/E. They do not live in luxury nor get involved in
      corruption as they hold no office in the Govt.

      You must be working for Mittals in the UK. trying to put through the
      deal.

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