High Commissioner of India H.E. Ashok K. Kantha, participated in a brief ceremony on 6 May 2013 at Kankesanthurai (KKS) Harbour to mark the completion of the dredging operation.The “Joint Post Dredging Survey” chart was formally handed over by the High Commissioner to Capt. Nihal Keppetipola, Managing Director of Sri Lanka Port Authority (SLPA).The dredging work at the KKS Harbour has been undertaken by the Dredging Corporation of India (DCI), a public sector undertaking of the Government of India. Consul General of India Mr. V. Mahalingam, Mr Nielkhawsiem, Manager(Operations) of DCI and senior officials of the Navy were also present at the event.
Speaking on the occasion, High Commissioner stated that with the completion of dredging operation, four phases of the Project supported through grant assistance from the Government of India of US$ 25 million had been completed satisfactorily. This had paved the way for commencement of rest of the work by SLPA, under a concessional line of credit from the Government of India. He hoped that this work would be undertaken expeditiously. High Commissioner underlined that the rehabilitation of the Harbour would go a long way in development of economic infrastructure in the Northern Province, support domestic as well as regional commerce and connectivity as well as pave the way for exploitation of KKS Harbour as a commercial port. In his remarks, Capt. Keppetipola thanked the Government of India for its assistance in the rehabilitation of the Harbour and assured that the SLPA would make all efforts to undertake and complete the work promptly.
The dredging operation, which is the fourth phase of work, has been undertaken under a fully funded grant from the Government of India to the tune of INR 11.32 crores (US $ 2.055 million). A “Trailer Suction Hopper Dredger” from DCI arrived at KKS Harbour on 19 April 2013 and commenced dredging operations the same day. The whole process of dredging of the harbour was successfully completed in fifteen days and on 3 May 2013, the Dredger sailed back to India.
The KKS Harbour rehabilitation project is a complex and wide-ranging project, with multiple phases involving preliminary hydrographic survey (Phase I), geo-technical investigations and preparation of Detailed Project Report (Phase II), wreck removal and disposal (Phase III), dredging (Phase IV), rehabilitation of breakwater/pier and construction of new pier with attendant Port facilities (Phase V) and final hydrographic survey and preparation of Harbour chart (Phase VI). Phase V and the final Phase VI would be executed through a concessional line of credit provided by the Government of India to the Government of Sri Lanka.
Phase I was completed by an Indian Navy ship in June-July 2010 as part of the preparation for this project. The second phase involving geo-technical investigations and preparation of DPR by M/s RITES Ltd was completed in July 2011 and the DPR was accepted by SLPA in July 2012. The cost involved was about INR 2.8 crores (USD 0.5 million approx.). Following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding and an agreement between India and Sri Lanka on 21 July 2011, work on the third phase of the project involving wreck-removal and salvage was inaugurated by Hon’ble Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa and H.E. High Commissioner of India Ashok K. Kantha at a ceremony on 26 July 2011. The wreck-removal work was completed on 6 January 2012 at a cost of about USD19.5 million, which was fully funded by a grant from the Government of India. The wreck free Harbour was officially handed over by the then Minister of External Affairs of India Hon’ble S.M. Krishna to the Sri Lanka authorities on 18 January 2012.