Cabinet approval has been given for a sustainable model village programme proposed by President Maithripala Sirisena and Housing and Construction Minister Sajith Premadasa in a joint Cabinet paper.

Co-Cabinet spokesperson Minister Gayantha Karunathilake said that as proposed by the President, the year 2017 has already been declared as the year of alleviating poverty adding that this proposal was an extension of it.

“Poverty is not indicated by one’s minimum income but with their houses. According to data given by the Department of Census and Statistics and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, 165,000 have been identified as poorest of the poor. They live in slums, shanties and line rooms. Further, 63% of poor people live in houses which are less than 400 square feet in extent, and 10% do not have toilet facilities while many do not have access to electricity,” the Minister said.

Accordingly, the Government will implement a programme to build 12,500 houses in 20 model villages.