Consulate General of India
Inauguration of Kilinochchi-Pallai re-constructed railway track and signal system built by IRCON International Ltd under concessional Indian Line of Credit
A ceremony was held on March 4, 2014 at Pallai to mark the inauguration of the reconstructed railway track between Kilinochchi and Pallai. The ceremony was attended by Hon’ble Kumara Welgama, Minister of Transport of Sri Lanka, Hon’ble Douglas Devananda, Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprises Development, H.E. Y. K. Sinha, High Commissioner of India, Shri V. Mahalingam, Consul General of India, Jaffna, Hon’ble Maj. Gen. (Retd.) G.A. Chandrasiri, Governor of Northern Province, Hon’ble Rohana Kumara Dissanayake, Deputy Minister of Transport, Hon’ble Murugesu Chandrakumar, MP, senior officials from the Ministry of Transport, Sri Lanka Railways and officials from IRCON International Limited. As part of the ceremony, the dignitaries undertook a train journey from Kilinochchi to Pallai on the reconstructed track.
2. The 27.5 km long Kilinochchi-Pallai railway line has been reconstructed under the concessionary credit line amounting to about US$ 800 million provided by the Government of India to the Government of Sri Lanka to undertake the Northern railway reconstruction project in Sri Lanka. This commitment was recorded in the India-Sri Lanka Joint Declaration issued on June 9, 2010 in New Delhi during the visit of H.E. President of Sri Lanka. Under this project, the segments already completed include the Medawachchiya-Madhu Road segment, inaugurated on May 14, 2013 and the Omanthai- Kilinochchi segment, inaugurated by H.E. President of Sri Lanka on September 14, 2013.
3. Speaking on the occasion, Hon’ble Kumara Welgama, Minister of Transport, thanked the Government of India for the assistance provided towards reconstruction activities in Sri Lanka, including the rehabilitation of the Northern Railway line. Emphasising on the close relationship between the two countries, the Minister added that India provided concessionary credit on soft terms for this project which others had not given. He expressed satisfaction with the work of IRCON International and said that Talaimannar and Kankesanthurai would also be connected to the reconstructed rail network very soon. The Minister also said that, in Southern Sri Lanka, the railway network would reach Kataragama from Matara in a period of two years. He urged Government of India to consider more concessionary credit towards development of the railway network in Sri Lanka.
4. The High Commissioner, H.E. Y. K. Sinha in his address termed the inauguration of the Kilinochchi-Pallai railway line as another milestone in the historic partnership between India and Sri Lanka rooted in civilizational ties of history, language, culture, religion and in trade. He said that the reconstruction of Northern line would assist in restoration of normal life, generate and support livelihood-related activities, assist in restoring connectivity, not only within the Northern Province, but also with the rest of the country, thus promoting development, reconciliation and greater integration. The High Commissioner commended IRCON International on timely completion of this section of the Northern Railway line and noted that the project was proceeding on schedule.
5. The High Commissioner noted that an important component of the USD 800 million Line of Credit for the reconstruction of the Northern Railway line was procurement of rolling stock by Sri Lanka Railways which will go a long way in meeting Sri Lanka’s rolling stock requirements. With the construction of the railway line up to Kataragama and resumption of ferry service between Talaimannar and Rameshwaram, he affirmed that soon Sri Lankans would be able to travel by train from Hambantota and Matara to Bodhgaya as also to Jammu and Kashmir in North India, Gujarat in the West, Assam and the North-eastern states in the East. The Government of India would extend full assistance to Sri Lanka in this regard.
6. Congratulating Sri Lanka Railways in taking one more step towards full restoration of the railway network in the conflict-affected parts of Sri Lanka, which would help bring people in different parts of the island closer, the High Commissioner concluded by stressing that as Sri Lanka’s closest neighbor and long-standing partner India is prepared to extend its fullest support to Sri Lanka in fulfilling its aspirations for peace, harmony, national reconciliation and development.
5 March 2014