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India-backed railway project inaugurated in Sri Lanka

Posted by on February 16, 2011 0 Comment

Colombo, Feb 16 (IANS) Over six years after devastating tsunami severely damaged a coastal railway, the new refurbished Galle-Matara network, sponsored by the Indian government, was inaugurated here in Sri Lanka Wednesday.

A press release of the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka said that Indian envoy Ashok K. Kantha attended the inauguration of Galle-Matara railway with Sri Lankan Minister for Transport Kumar Welgama.

The coastal link was damaged by the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, which washed away parts of the tracks and also train carriages to the sea.

The 42-km railway line was upgraded by Indian state firm, Ircon, so that the train could reach a top speed of 100 km per hour – the fastest for Sri Lankan railways.

This railway link represents phase one of the coastal rail project from Colombo to Matara. The second phase, from Galle to Kalutara, is set to be completed early next year.

The entire project is being financed by India’s line of credit worth $167.40 million.

The Indian envoy said that India “was committed to working with the government of Sri Lanka towards the consolidation of peace, prosperity and development in Sri Lanka and for the further enrichment of our bilateral ties”.

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