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India continues to help SL’s crippled railway, completes projects worth over $1bnSeptember 21, 2023
Colombo, Sep 21 (IANS) As the only creditor to continue to help Sri Lanka’s crippled Railway, India has completed projects worth over $1 billion with five Indian Lines of Credit (LoC), the Indian High Commission announced on Thursday.
Continuing its support to the crisis hit neighbour, India on Thursday signed an agreement to install signaling system for 66 km railway track from North Central city of Anuradhapura to North-Western province’s Mahoat a cost of nearly $15 million.
The contract for design, installation, testing and commissioning of signalling system for Sri Lanka Railways (SLR) from Maho to Anuradhapura was signed between the Ministry of Transport and Highways of Sri Lanka and IRCON Ltd.
The project is being executed under an Indian LoC of $318 million at a cost of $14.90 million, the Indian High Commission in Colombo announced.
IRCON Ltd is carrying out a $91.27 million project to upgrade 128 km railway line from Maho to former war-ravaged Omanthai. Under this project, while track rehabilitation work from Anuradhapura to Omanthai has already been completed, work on the section from Anuradhapura to Mahois will commence from January 2024.
Addressing the event, High Commissioner of India in Sri Lanka, Gopal Baglay stressed the significance of the signaling project for easing movement of the people of Sri Lanka, accelerating economic recovery of the country and strengthening the cooperation between the two countries.
He highlighted that the LoC for this project in the current situation symbolises the continued desire of the government and the people of India to stand with the people of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka’s Transport Minister Bandula Gunawardane thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Government of India for supporting Sri Lanka in multiple ways, especially during the economic crisis last year.
“Sri Lankan railway projects have received support in the form of LoC in recent times only from India,” Gunawardane said.
IRCON Ltd has completed several projects in Sri Lanka with Indian assistance and has contributed significantly towards rehabilitation and modernisation of Sri Lanka Railways.
One of the main loss making government institutions of the island nation, SLR suffered with the worst ever economic crisis with no way to carry out most essential maintenance work.
The lack of maintenance had led to regular signal failures and train derailments with record 117 train derailments in 2022.