US $ 382 m from India for rail revival
*Promoting closer connectivity
*Free passports for returnees
In a bid to promote closer connectivity between the people of the
North and South, the government is to expedite the reconstruction of the
Northern railway track, devastated by terrorists, with financial
assistance from India.
The Indian government has agreed to provide a US $ 382.37 million
credit line to Sri Lanka with concessionary rates for the restoration of
the 56 km Northern railway track from Palai to Kankesanthurai.
The restoration project includes the installation of signal and
The Cabinet of Ministers on Thursday approved the memorandum by
President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his capacity as the Minister of Finance
to obtain the credit facility from India for the restoration of railway
The government is to enter into an agreement with the Export and
Import Bank of India to obtain the credit facility shortly.
The government of India initially agreed to fund US $ 149.3 million
to connect North of the country, for the first time in decades from
Palai to Kankesanthurai and an agreement in this regard was reached on
US $ 86.52 million will be utilized for the setting up of signalling
and telecommunication systems and US $ 146.51 million is to be utilized
for other contracts that may be mutually agreed upon by two governments.
This project is to be completed by 2013.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet of Ministers has decided to grant passports
free-of-charge to Sri Lankans in Tamil Nadu who wish to return to the
Over 90,000 Sri Lankans who fled the country during the height of
war, are staying in refugee centres in Tamil Nadu and those wishing to
return to the country would be issued passports free-of-charge from the
Sri Lankan High Commission in Chennai.
The proposal in this regard was submitted by President Mahinda
Rajapaksa at the weekly Cabinet meeting. Each Sri Lankan will have to
pay Indian Rs 4,400 to obtain a passport if this facility was not
provided by the government.