‘Yal Devi’ again in two years


By Don Asoka Wijewardena

The reconstruction of the Railway track from Pallai to KKS will be completed by 2013. Indian Railway Construction International Ltd (IRCON), which is a government owned company of India, has been awarded the contract to complete the project within two years.

EXIM Bank of India will provide financial assistance to the tune of US$ 50 million for the project.

The Sri Lankan government expects to resume the ‘Yal Devi’ train operation once again, after the completion of the track, Transport Minister Kumara Welgama announced at the agreement signing ceremony between India and Sri Lanka at Taj Samudra Hotel yesterday (18).

Minister Welgama said that the construction of the railway line from Pallai to KKS was badly needed as the people in the North were facing numerous transport difficulties due to inadequate transport facilities. The mission of the government was the provision of a safe, reliable and punctual rail transport service for both passenger and freight.

The distance between Pallai and KKS was 55 km. The IRCON company had undertaken the project to be completed within two years, but engineers were positive that the construction could be completed ahead of schedule. It would be a boon to the people in the North, the Minister added.

Indian High Commissioner Ashok K. Kantha said that India would see things in their correct perspective and assured that the construction would be completed ahead of schedule. The designs of buildings and culverts were according to Indian standards and specifications. Therefore, Sri Lankan Railways would have to check designs with the Sri Lankan standards and specifications. If there were any major discrepancies, IRCON would revise the designs accordingly.

He added that apart from the above observations, the technical proposal would meet the requirements of the railway department. IRCON had agreed with the above observations to make necessary arrangements to comply with such requirements.

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