EU support to upgrade railway track

Feb 2 (IL) The European Union has signed an agreement with the government for a support of Euro 2 million (250 million Rupees) for the rehabilitation of the railway track from Valachchenai to Batticaloa.

An EU statement said the project would create confidence and bring tangible benefits of the peace process to the people in Sri Lanka, particularly those residing in Batticaloa and Ampara, through increased trade and passenger mobility between the regions.

The statement said, "This financial support will help in the improvement and strengthening of the 30.5 kilometres of track between Valachchenai and Batticaloa, the restoration of signal and communication systems between Manampitiya and Batticaloa and the renovation of buildings of the stations Valachchenai, Eramur and Batticaloa and substations Vantharamulai, Kalkudah and Devapuram."The Sri Lanka Railway Authority will be the Implementing Agency under the supervision of the Ministry of Transport, Highways & Civil Aviation.

"The train services from Colombo to Batticaloa, one of the major cities of the East coast has been disrupted for nearly 19 years due to civil disturbances in the North East Province.

The train services operated only up to Manampitiya. The railway track from Manampitiya to Valachchenai was in a state of total neglect.

Valachchenai to Batticaloa section was completely removed as a result of the war.

The Cease Fire Agreement between the Government and the LTTE provides for the restoration of train services between Valachchenai and Batticaloa