Reconstruction of Northern railway track from Anuradhapura to Omanthai to begin on January 05

(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – Minister of Transport, Highways and Mass Media Dr. Bandula Gunawardena said under Indian loan scheme India’s IRCON International will begin the reconstruction of Northern railway track from Anuradhapura to Omanthai, which has not been renovated for over a hundred of years, on January 5th.

At a media briefing held Wednesday, Minister Gunawardena said it is planned to complete the modernization work of the railway line within a period of 5 months and during that period the train journeys from Anuradhapura to Omanthai will have to be stopped.

However, in order to minimize the inconvenience caused to the passengers, arrangements have already been made for the state-owned Sri Lanka Transport Board buses and private buses to provide continuous transportation facilities from Anuradhapura to Jaffna.

Minister Bandula Gunawardena also mentioned that although the railway line from Anuradhapura to Omanthai has to be closed due to the renovation work, there will be five train journeys per day from Colombo to Anuradhapura and a combined bus service from Anuradhapura will facilitate the journey to Jaffna.

“Although there may be some inconvenience to the passengers in the short term, our aim is to provide a great benefit to the country and the people after carrying out these modernization works,” Minister Gunawardena said.

“The service provided by the public transport service for the ease of travel of the common people during the economic crises and fuel problems in the past is immense. It was a great convenience for the people. Also, our public transport service should be further strengthened. Anuradhapura Kankesanthurai railway line has not been renovated for a long time,” the Minister noted.

“The Northern Railway line was completely destroyed during the 30 Year-long War. However, we have to extend our gratitude to all parties for their efforts in developing at least a certain section of this railway line under the previous government. Under this government, we have decided to commence the reconstruction process under the Indian credit line.”

The rehabilitation program at a cost of Rs. 33 billion under Indian concessional financing will bring about a major modernization of the country’s railway transport sector, the Minister said. “We especially hope that we will get the support and blessings of all the people,” he added.

The Minister also mentioned that after the completion of this project in five months, the train from Anuradhapura to Kankesanthurai will run at a speed of one hundred kilometers per hour.

This massive development project on the northern railway line running from Colombo to Jaffna, Kankesanthurai will become the second turning point in the railway service, the Minister said.

The government earlier this month awarded a $14.89 million contract to India’s IRCON International Ltd under the Indian Line of Credit for procurement of Design, Installation, Testing, Commissioning and Certifying of Signaling and Telecommunication system from Maho Junction to Anuradhapura.

The General Manager of Railways, Deputy General Managers, Project Directors in charge of the Railway Modernization Project, and a group of Indian representatives were present for this occasion.


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