The Plantations Human Development Trust (PHDT) announced the completion of Rs. 1.4 billion in estate housing and infrastructure development projects during 2017.
Comprised of a tripartite coalition of Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs), Plantation Trade Unions (TU) and the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL), the PHDT that implements social development programmes to enhance the quality of life of the estate communities.
During 2017, the organisation oversaw the completion of 1,045 houses where each unit is constructed and handed over to residents as a completed house with space for living area, two rooms, a verandah and a kitchen, together with a separate tiled bathroom.
“Our vision for the PHDT’s civil engineering projects was to create a sense of belonging and ownership among the estate community by providing them with a fully realized space to make into a home.
“Each house has been designed to incorporate concepts of sustainability through the allocation of space for small-scale agriculture, the addition of solar panels, rain water harvesting, environmental friendly garbage disposal units and waste water management systems, to transform these units to meet the PHDTs concept of farmer driven housing” PHDT, Director General, Lal Perera explained.
Included in 2017’s housing projects were 406 disaster relief housing units, 136 owner driven housing and 100 units undertaken as a pilot project a pre-fabricated housing – a first for the plantations sector.
Meanwhile, Existing lines of houses in Galle, Ratnapura, Badulla, Kegalle, Kandy, Hatton and Nuwara Eliya were re-roofed as an interim measure until construction of new housing units are completed and delivered to residents. In total, the PHDT invested Rs. 76 million towards re-roofing of 1,621 units as part of a Rs. 215 million invested in special projects.
These special projects consist of new water schemes, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities, upgrading community halls, playgrounds,Child Development Centres and concrete roads in order to improve connectivity between estate communities and urban centers.
During the year, PHDT also worked in partnership with the World Bank under the Water Supply and Sanitation Improvement Project facilitating investments towards the replacement of public toilets with 432 individual toilets provided to each worker while another 1,250 new toilets are approved for construction with a Rs. 500 million investment, offering a much needed measure of convenience and improved sanitation conditions for estate residents.
According to Perera, such measures are considered vital in eradicating communicable diseases within the estate community – including communities situated downstream – while also reducing pollution of the environment and water resources, which are made safe for utilization for cooking and sanitation facilities.
Child care is considered to be one of the key components of the programme in Estates which is focused on addressing the needs of mothers and children. Under the 2017 Housing and Infrastructure project, 21 out of 938 Child development centres were upgraded in seven regions at a value of Rs.150 million.
Since its establishment 25 years ago, the PHDT has facilitated the establishment of 1,948 water supply projects, and 134,807 sanitation projects while overseeing the construction of 1,250 km of estate roads and a further 115,913 re-roofing projects. Similarly, the PHDT has also been instrumental in the construction of 938 child development centres and constructed 35,634 houses for estate sector communities.