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Yal Devi Express set to restore Jaffna-Colombo link in two years

[Hindu, Sunday, 20 November 2011 11:45 No Comment]

During war years, it operated between Colombo and Thandikulam

By the end of 2013, the Yal Devi (Goddess of Jaffna) Express will again run to Kankasanthurai (KKS) from Colombo.

The express train, which was named in the 1950s (though services commenced much earlier), had to be curtailed in the early 1990s because of the war between the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan forces. During the war years, it operated between Colombo and Thandikulam, but now runs till Omanthai.

On Friday, IRCON and Sri Lanka Railways signed a memorandum of understanding to construct the 56 km KKS-Pallai line at a cost of $149.3 million.

Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Ashok K. Kantha said that once the IRCON projects were completed, full connectivity would be restored till Thalaimannar. He said the wreck removal works at the KKS harbour were on schedule and the harbour would be operational by the middle of next year.

Connectivity with India

This would give a big fillip to connectivity with India since Nagapattinam was just over 60 miles away. The project in the northern province was not just about restoration of normality, it would signal full momentum to economic development, he said.

Work on the three IRCON railway projects — Omanthai-Pallai, Medawachchiya-Madu and Madu-Talaimannar segments — were going smoothly and all three projects would be completed on schedule if not ahead (by the middle of 2013), he added. He expressed satisfaction that IRCON had successfully completed work on the Galle-Matara section of the coastal railway line in February this year and the ongoing work on the Galle-Kalutara segment was likely to be completed by March 2012, ahead of schedule.

Railway Board (Member) A.P. Mishra said Indian Railways was always willing to help its Sri Lankan counterpart whenever a request was made.

The agreement for restoration of the Pallai-Kankesanthurai Railway Line was signed on Friday between B.A.P. Ariyarathna, general manager, Sri Lanka Railways, and Mohan Tiwari, Managing Director, IRCON, in the presence of Kumara Welgama, Minister of Transport, Mr. Kantha, Dhammika Perera, Secretary, Ministry of Transport, and Mr. Mishra.

[Full Coverage]

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