India pledges 67 rail buses to Sri Lanka’s east

February 17th, 2009 - 4:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Feb 17 (IANS) India has pledged to provide 67 sets of rail buses to link Batticaloa and Trincomalee towns with capital Colombo to promote development in Sri Lanka’s east, a media report said Tuesday.

“India will give us (67 sets of) rail buses to be operated between Batticaloa and Trincomalee via Habarana,” the Daily Mirror newspaper quoted Eastern Province Health Minister M.L.A.M. Hizbullah as saying.

According to him, each set would comprise two buses and more could be added. Seven sets of buses are expected to be delivered in the next two or three months.

The pledge was made when Indian High Commissioner Alok Prasad visited Batticaloa Monday and met Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan and Batticaloa Mayor Sivageetha Prabhakaran about development activities in the province, the report said.

Sri Lanka’s eastern province is made up of Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Amparai districts. Sri Lankan troops captured the region from the LTTE in 2007. A provincial administration was established in 2008.

The region’s chief minister, popularly known as Pillaiyan, was a former member of the Tamil Tigers. He broke away from the LTTE in 2004 and became the chief minister in May 2008 in alliance with the ruling party.

India has donated 10 buses to be operated in the eastern province. It donated Monday one more bus for the use of the Kathankudy Central College, in Batticaloa.

The Indian envoy is expected to visit Trincomalee town, where the Indian Oil Corp (IOC) is building and operating storage facilities at the 850-acre Oil Tank farm, located close to a jetty at China Bay.

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