Sri Lanka wants to initiate railway links with India

December 3rd, 2008 - 3:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Dec 3 (IANS) Sri Lanka has expressed its willingness to initiate a railway link with neighbouring India via the north-western coastal Mannar island, which is located a few nautical miles away from India’s pilgrim town of Rameshwaram.Transport Minister Dulles Alahapperuma has told parliament that although there was a “quantitative growth” in all modes of transportation, such increase had not taken place in a uniform manner.

“We have a dream of constructing a railway corridor from Sri Lanka to India via Mannar…. We may not be able to realise it during our regime but we hope to initiate the project,” Minister Alahapperuma said during the budget debate in Parliament Tuesday.

Claiming that the import of 100 sets from China has neutralised the shortage of railway carriages in the country, he said that most of the 1,200 km long railway tracks have been modernised after 15 long years.

“The addition of another 20 power sets and three railway engines under the Indian Line of Credit can be seen as the best evidence that there were no unrealised dreams,” a state-run media report quoted Alahapperuma as saying in parliament.

Highlighting the need to improve the transport system in the island nation, Alahapperuma told parliament that 90 percent of the country’s population had been using the public transport and the need was always rising.

He said that a “national transport policy” has now been prepared for the development of the transport sector as an industry.

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