Mount-KKS intercity train service begins
Intercity train services between Mount Lavinia and Kankesanturai using full AC Diesel Multiple Units (AC DMUs), recently received from India under an Indian loan facility, started on Sunday (9) under the patronage of Minister of Transport Pavithra Wanniarachchi and Indian Deputy High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Vinod K. Jacob.
During his conversation with Minister Wanniarachchi, Deputy High Commissioner Jacob recalled the priority placed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on ties with Sri Lanka in line with India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy. He said that the recent assurance by External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar that India would support Sri Lanka in difficult times is an affirmation of this policy. He also reiterated High Commissioner Gopal Baglay’s emphasis on mutually beneficial cooperation that facilitates people to people exchanges.
Wanniarachchi thanked the Indian Government for its steadfast support of Sri Lanka over the years, including during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The Deputy High Commissioner responded that the Indian side is keen on upgrading bilateral engagement in 2022. He said that India is celebrating this year’s Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (9 January) with special focus on the youth and recalled Mahatma Gandhi’s visit to Sri Lanka including the seminal speech at Ananda College.
Supplied by RITES under an Indian Line of Credit, these AC DMUs will help facilitate faster travel between the Western and Northern Provinces. The supply of AC DMUs is just one of the many railway projects being undertaken by India in Sri Lanka. There are also other ongoing projects, which include the supply of passenger coaches by RITES under an Indian Line of Credit. RITES has already supplied 120 of the 160 coaches under this project. Another Indian Company, IRCON is executing a project upgrading railway tracks between Maho-Anuradhapura-Omanthai.
India’s total development portfolio in Sri Lanka is over USD 3.5 billion, of which around USD 570 million are purely grant projects. Modernisation of railways and building new railway infrastructure have been important sectors of focus under the Indian Government’s development portfolio in Sri Lanka, in line with the priority of the Government and people of Sri Lanka.