India funds for Sri Lanka railways climb to US$1.3bn

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is beginning to commission diesel multiple units supplied under a 100 million dollar credit line from India, with total financing for the railways sector in the island totaling 1.3 billion US dollars.

The Diesel Multiple Unit with 13 coaches was flagged off by President Maithripala Sirisena was deployed on a run from the capital Colombo to Kankasanthurai in the North of the island.

There are air-conditioned coaches in the train with rotating seats.

It is part of a 100 million dollar deal involving the supply of 6 DMUs and 10 locomotives to Sri Lanka by RITES Ltd, a state-run Indian firm.

The balance rolling stock will be delivered during 2019, the Indian High Commission said.

The trains can run at 120 kilometres an hour on tracks which are upgraded to cope with higher speed trains.  Indian credit was used to reconstruct a track running through former war torn areas which was destroyed during a 30 year

In June 2017 India had signed a 318 million dollar credit line which will see tracks between Maho-Omanthai being upgraded. Signal and telecoms will be upgraded between Maho to Anuradhapura. A railway workshop will be set up in Ratmalana and 160 coaches would also be supplied.

India has committed 1.3 billion dollars of funding for Sri Lanka’s railways up to now, the High Commission said. (Colombo/Jan28/2018)

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