Colombo: On March 14, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi will be inaugurating an India-built, high speed rail track between Madhu Road and Thalaimannar Pier in Mannar district of Sri Lanka’s Northern Province.
The 65 km long track which can take speeds up to 120 km per hour, will not only link Thalaimannar with Colombo but will also be a boon to passengers from India when the ferry service from Rameswaram to Thalaimannar is introduced shortly.
The project has been executed by IRCON International, a Public Sector Undertaking under Ministry of Railways, Government of India.
IRCON General Manager S.L.Gupta said that with the completion of the Madhu Road-Thalaimannar track, the 325 km Northern Railway Project done by his company, will end and the dream of the local Tamil population to get back railway services destroyed in the 25 year conflict, will have been fulfilled.
The reconstructed track is the last segment of the 265 Km long Northern Railway Line Reconstruction Project executed by IRCON. This section has five crossing stations at Murunkan, Mannar, Pesalai, Talai Mannar and Talai Mannar Pier, along with three halt stations at Mathotham, Thiruketheeswaram and Thoddaveli.
The railway tracks from Omanthai to Kankesanthurai and Medawachchiya to Talai Mannar Pier were completely destroyed during the prolonged ethnic conflict. India extended support to Lanka to rebuild 265 km of railway track in the Northern Province by providing a Line of Credit of USD 650 million at a concessional rate with a repayment period of 20 years and a 5 year moratorium.
The credit line covers the cost of tracks, station buildings and other structures, locomotives, and signaling and telecommunication systems over a length of 325 kms in the Northern Province. Tracks between Omanthai to Kankesanthurai (154 km) and Medawachchiya to Madhu Road (45 km) are already operational.
Prime Minister Modi will also inaugurate a railway track that was destroyed during the civil war in Sri Lanka and has been re-built with India’s assistance during his visit here this week. IRCON Internation conducted test runs today on the rebuilt rail line as the last stretch of track, destroyed by war in northern Sri Lanka, was completed. It will be declared open by Prime Minister Modi on Saturday.
The 63-km newly built railway track between Madhu Road and Talaimannar Pier in the northwest is the last segment of the 265 km-long northern railway line reconstruction project.
The railway track from Omanthai to Kankesanthurai in northern Jaffna peninsula and Medawachchiya to Talaimannar Pier were completely destroyed during the ethnic conflict.
The Indian government under its development credit policy gave a soft loan of USD 650 million to Sri Lanka to rebuild the railway track at a concessional rate with a repayment period spreading over 20 years and a five year moratorium.
The Northern Railway Line Reconstruction Project is being executed by IRCON.
This section has five crossing stations at Murukan, Mannar, Pesalai, Talai Mannar and Talai Mannar Pier, along with three halt stations.
Prime Minister Modi, who is due in Colombo on Friday, will be the first Indian Prime Minister since Rajiv Gandhi in 1987 to make a bilateral visit to the island.