Krishna hands over Galle-Hikkaduwa section
As part of an India-assisted plan to revive the south coastal Railway in Sri Lanka, the completed section of the Galle-Hikkaduwa railway track was on Thursday handed over to Sri Lanka.
Phase-One of this Project, comprising the 42-km Galle-Matara Section, was completed in February 2011. Phase Two of the project, which involves the section from Galle to Kaluthara, will be completed by April this year.
IRCON International Ltd, a public sector Indian company-involved railway infrastructure, had completed the 19-km Galle-Hikkaduwa section of the project on schedule. Track in about 45-km in the Galle–Kaluthara section is ready. It will be completed in all aspects once the signaling equipment is in place.
“As part of our effort to assist the Government of Sri Lanka in the reconstruction of the Southern Railway coastal project, the Government of India had pledged a line of credit of US$ 167.4 million. This involves reconstruction of railway lines, training of personnel from Sri Lanka Railways in India, procurement of rolling stock and building of maintenance sheds,” Mr.Krishna said, handing over the upgraded track at a function at Galle Railway station.
Mr.Krishna had, during my visit to Sri Lanka in November 2010, launched the construction work for the Northern Railway Project. “We expect all the projects relating to rehabilitation of the Northern Railway line by IRCON, being funded under an Indian Credit line of US$ 800 million, to be completed by the end of 2013,” he said.
Mr.Krishna assured that India was committed to working with the Government of Sri Lanka for consolidation of peace, prosperity and development and for the further enrichment of our bilateral ties.
He announced a substantial increase in India’s educational assistance, amounting to 2.5 billion Sri Lankan Rupees in grant-funding, to assist meritorious Sri Lankan students.
Under this programme, scholarships and self-financing slots for undergraduate, masters and doctorate-level courses will be increased to nearly 270 per year. This marks a three-fold increase, and includes 120 slots for undergraduate courses, 25 seats for IT engineering, 50 slots for Masters-level courses, and 40 slots for a highly-subsidized self-financing scheme. In addition, support for deserving students pursuing their GCE ‘A’ level and University degrees in Sri Lankan institutions has been expanded to cover about 500 students every year.