India and Sri Lanka today discussed here various issues concerning development of railway network in the island country.
Upgradation of signalling and telecommunication system and strengthening of existing railway line in Sri Lanka are some of the issues discussed between Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha and Lankan Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama here amid the presence of senior railway and MEA officials.
India has been extending concessional Line of Credit (LoC) to Sri Lanka to support various projects in the infrastructure sector including Railways.
Till date, more than US $ 1 billion of LoC has been extended to Sri Lanka for various Railway projects.
Some of the railway projects being undertaken under LoC assistance are upgradation of the 118 km Coastal Railway track from Kalutara to Matara in Southern Sri Lanka including supply of rolling stocks, training and setting up of maintenance facilities was carried out under US $ 267 million concessional Line of Credit (LoC) assistance project by the Railways PSUs IRCON and RITES.
The project was completed in April, 2012.
Indian Railways has undertaken the Northern Railway Rehabilitation Project in Sri Lanka involving 252 km of track rehabilitation (Omenthai-Kankesanturai and Medawachiya-Talaimanar) and upgradation and 353 km of signaling and telecommunications (Anuradhapur- Kankesanturai and Medawachiya-Talaimanar) under US$ 800 million LoC.
The project was completed by IRCON between 2013 to 2015.
A fresh Line of Credit of US $ 318 million for railway projects was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Colombo visit in March 13-14, 2015 emphasising the bilateral cooperation in the railway sector.
Sri Lanka has proposed to use the fresh LoC for purchase of 6 Diesel Multiple Units (DMU), each with two power cars and 12 coaches (US $ 106 million) 160 passenger coaches (US $ 62 million) and track materials to rehabilitate around 150 km of Railway track (US $ 150 million).
Lankan government had issued tender documents for procurement of 6 DMUs, 10 locomotives and 160 passenger coaches for which RITES has submitted bids on May 18, 2016. The LoC Agreement with amended repayment terms has to be signed with Sri Lanka to pave the way for the utilization of US $ 318 million LoC.
IRCON has submitted techno-commercial proposal for utilizing the remaining LoC for upgradation of Anuradhapur-Omanthai section of railway line in the Northern Province.
Besides upgadation of Maho-Anuradhapura section including new signaling and telecommunication works and strengthening of existing line and construction of new section line along with complete signaling and telecommunication works on the Polgahwela-Maho section.
In addition, India is interested to construct a new railway line from Trincomalee to Medawachchiya which is estimated to be around US $ 300 million.