On January 07, 2024, Hon. Minister of Transport, Highways and Mass Media of Sri Lanka Dr. Bandula Gunawardena and High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka H.E. Santosh Jha ceremonially launched track rehabilitation work at Galgamuwa Railway Station commencing upgradation of Railway Line including ancillary works from Maho to Anuradhapura, the second phase of a Line of Credit project for track rehabilitation from Maho- Omanthai (128Km) being undertaken by an Indian Public Sector company, IRCON, under an Indian Line of Credit (LOC) of USD 318 million. The cost of the entire project is USD 91.27 million of which the 2nd phase of rehabilitation from Maho-Anuradhapura is scheduled to be completed in six months. Hon. State Minister of Mass Media Mr Shantha Bandara and senior officials from the Sri Lankan Ministry of Transport were also present at the event.
In his remarks, Hon. Minister of Transport thanked India for the support extended to Sri Lanka, especially in the transport sector. Appreciating the work carried out by IRCON in Sri Lanka in the past few years, he called for greater Railway cooperation between the two countries.
High Commissioner expressed happiness that as a long-standing development partner of Sri Lanka, India had executed projects for the development and rehabilitation of Sri Lanka’s Northern and Southern Railway line over the past several years, in line with the priorities and requirements of the Government of Sri Lanka. He underscored the importance of modernization of Railways in enhancing mobility of goods and services in Sri Lanka thereby boosting economic activity.
Railways has been one of the priority sectors for Government of India’s assistance to Sri Lanka. Till date, India has executed projects of over USD 1 billion in the Railways sector under 5 Indian LOCs. India’s public sector company, IRCON, started its operations in Sri Lanka in March 2009 and has contributed towards modernization of Sri Lanka Railways by reconstructing the entire railway line network in Northern Province (253 Km) and upgradation of Southern line (115 km). It has also contributed to ensuring safety and reliability through a modern signaling & telecommunication system on 330 km stretch of Railway line.
Notably, India’s support to Sri Lanka under its various LOCs has continued despite the debt standstill announced by the Government of Sri Lanka in April 2022. In September 2023, the Ministry of Transport and Highways of Sri Lanka and IRCON International signed a new Contract for design, installation, testing, and commissioning of a Signalling system for Sri Lanka Railways, from Maho to Anuradhapura for USD 14.90 million under an Indian LOC.