The initiative, which will see the construction of 25 new housing units with basic facilities such as water, electricity, and proper drainage systems, has been facilitated by the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies (CHA) while funding has been obtained under the Lanka Financial Services for Under-served Settlements (LFSUS) Guarantee Scheme. Officials at Kahawatte Plantations, which manage the Kataboola Estate, said the project is scheduled to be completed within the next six months.
Kataboola Estate, situated in the Central Province of the island spans 409 hectares of tea and provides a livelihood for 1,167 families residing in the plantation. The total population of the estate, which consists of 6 divisions, stands at 4,496 people.
“The new houses are for a group of families whose houses have been dilapidated over time as well as several selected top performers,” said Kahawatte Plantations Chief Executive Roshan Rajadurai. “Each family will pay Rs. 5,000 a month to Kahawatte Plantations which will pay HNB over a period of 10 years,” he added.
The project is a pilot initiative carried out by LFSUS in the estate sector with the expectation that more plantation community self help housing projects will be undertaken. LFSUS facilitates networking among the informal sector of the country to obtain domestic capital for housing needs.
“The aim of this project is to fulfil the housing needs of the workers’ community and uplift their living conditions,” said Rajadurai. “We believe this will ultimately lead to the sustainable development of our estate’s employees,” he added. Kataboola estate provides teas for the premium Ceylon Tea brand Dilmah. Kahawatte Plantations, which manages estates in Nawalapitiya and Ratnapura regions, is involved in the cultivation, manufacture and marketing of tea, rubber, forestry products and other crops, mainly cinnamon.
The parent company is MJF Holdings Limited.