Minister of Ports, Shipping, and Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva said the Government of India has provided USD 45 million in financial assistance to develop the Kankesanthurai (KKS) Harbour.
He said, the Kankesanthurai Port will be developed as soon as possible.
De Silva said that after the port is completed, it is planned to begin direct freight operations from India to KKS Harbour because the distance from India to KKS Harbour was less than the distance from India to Colombo.
He said, it would save transportation costs to some extent. “It is easier to bring food and fertiliser to KKS than to bring it to Colombo. I instructed the Ports Authority to make the required preparation” he said.
The renovation of the Kankasanthurai Harbour was inaugurated on 27 July.
Following on the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and an Agreement on July 21 between India and Sri Lanka for the rehabilitation of the KKS Harbour, Sri Lankan Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa and High Commissioner of India Ashok K. Kantha inaugurated the work on the wreck-removal and salvage portion of the project at a ceremony in Kankasanthurai.
The LTTE sank six ships in the harbour and in its channel between 1994 and 1996.
A press release issued by the Indian High Commission in Colombo said India has made available Rs 2.18 billion (US$19 million) as a fully grant-funded project for the wreck removal work in Kankasanthurai. India has also funded an initial hydrographic survey, completed in June-July 2010.
The agreement was a result of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to India in June 2010. In the Joint Declaration issued during his visit India has agreed to extend assistance for the rehabilitation of the Kankasanthurai Harbour among other infrastructure projects in the Northern Province.
BY Aloka Kasturiarachchi