All keyed-up to set up Jaffna railroad
Preliminary arrangements have been made to commence construction
activities on the Jaffna Railway Restoration Project, Jaffna Government
Agent Emelda Sukumar told the Daily News.
The project is envisaged to operate the Yaal Devi express (Goddess of
Jaffna) to run again between Colombo and Kankasanthurai.
The project which costs US $ 800 million will rehabilitate, relay and
reconstruct Jaffna railway track along with its train stations and
bridges that were damaged due to the war, Railway sources said. Once the
track laying is completed, trains will be operated from Jaffna to
Colombo and to other parts of the country, the sources said.
Construction activities of the railroad will commence this month with
the participation of Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna at the
Jaffna Central Railway Station. Jaffna Government Agent Sukumar said:
"The Jaffna Railroad Restoration Project is not a mere exercise to
connect Jaffna and Kankesanthurai.
'The railway line is expected to serve as a bridge to build
fraternity between the people of the North and South," she said."
'That is why it has deviated from other projects and placed under the
government's Uthuru Mithuru (Northern Friensdhip ) Infrastructure
She also said the restoration of Jaffna railroad takes place in
addition to other infrastructure development projects, such as,
development, water and electricity supply projects, under the Uthuru
Wasanthaya development drive to facilitate the people of the province.'
'Projects worth Rs 60,000 million are being implemented by the
government," she said.
'Everything is ready to commence the laying of the railway track, The
railway reserve has been cleared of unlawful occupation and landmines,"
she said. 'The people removed from their settlements in the railway
reserve were resettled," she said.
Railway sources said the Jaffna Railway Restoration Project will
consist of relaying of the railroad, rebuilding of bridges, new
installation of signalling and communication systems and rehabilitation
of the railway stations along its route.