IRCON sees Sri Lanka rail upgrade investments at US$1.5bn
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will need investments of about 1.5 billion US dollars to upgrade the rest of its railway network to modern standards, said S L Gupta, Country Head of IRCON International Ltd.
The Indian government-owned firm has completed all the major projects it was hired to do and will bid for any new ones offered, he told a news conference.
“There is a need to further improve rail transportation in Sri Lanka,” Gupta said. “Rail transportation is a capital intensive business – you need a lot of money.”
He said he estimates investments of 1.5 billion dollars are needed to upgrade parts of the railway that had so far not been included in the post-war modernization of infrastructure underway.
IRCON started its work in the island when it was hired to rebuild rail tracks on the south coast that was devastated by the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
After the island’s 30-year ethnic war ended in 2009, IRCON was also given the contract to repair and modernise the rail network in the north.
“We will be only too happy to have more projects,” said Gupta. “I am a railway man. I will always suggest to any government to go for rail transportation which is cheaper and more efficient and comfortable than road travel. Rail transport is backbone of any economy.”