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DateLine Tuesday, 24 March 2009

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President requests patriotic citizens:

Join us in building Northern rail track

* The last Yal Devi train to operate between Colombo and Jaffna was in 1990.

* Service terminated at Vavuniya.

* Yal Devi was the largest revenue earner for the Sri Lanka Railways.

Addressing a representative gathering on the occasion of the launch of the Colombo - Jaffna railway track extension project at President’s Office yesterday, President Mahinda Rajapaksa requested all patriotic citizens to join in building the rail track.

“Every single sleeper on this rail track should show the love for a united country. All those who love the country should join to build this track.

“I wish that the Yal Devi rail track that would be constructed would show to the entire world the desire of our people to live in one country,” he said. By reconstructing the Yal Devi Railway line we are defending the North, he said. “Yal Devi resonated with the pulse of the Sri Lankan nation. In a sense, Yal Devi is a cultural messenger,” he added.

The President requested the Transport Minister to run the Yal Devi train at least five more kilometres beyond Vavuniya by April 23 next and consolidate the nation’s resolve.

The President while promising to donate his April salary to the project called upon all patriotic citizens to contribute to it.

“The reconstruction of the 28 railway stations between Vavuniya and Jaffna would be undertaken by the people in the southern districts.

“The Hambantota district has already undertaken to rebuild the Jaffna railway station.

The President also called upon India, China. Pakistan, Japan and other countries that helped Sri Lanka in the struggle against terrorism to come forward and assist in the reconstruction so that terrorism would not be able to raise its head again.

President Rajapaksa promised to donate his April salary towards the project. Several others, including President’s Office staff, Artistes Deepika Priyadarshini Peiris, Parliamentarian Puthrasigamany, Malini Fonseka, Ravindra Randeniya and philanthropist Jayantha Dharmadasa made their donations to the fund.

Transport Minister Dullas Allahaperuma also addressed the ceremony. An official website for the said project was launched by renowned Cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan on President Rajapaksa’s invitation.

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