Saturday, March 20, 2010

India assistance to Lanka to reach Rs 12.5 Billion

By Kelum Bandara - India is to invest more money in Sri Lanka with plans in place to launch some housing projects, vocational training centres and an agricultural research centre in the war-ravaged north as grants to the country was set to reach the Rs 12.5 billion mark pledged last year. The Indian government has already spent around two billion rupees of it on ongoing projects in the country, authoritative sources said yesterday.

The grant is to be spent on various projects to be undertaken by India in Sri Lanka mainly in the north of the country. Accordingly, plans are under way to construct six vocational training centres all over the country and an Agriculture Research Centre too would be built with Indian assistance in the North. These vocational training centres would be established in Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya, Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Nuwara-Eliya.

Among the other projects in pipeline are the development of the Kankasanthurai harbour and the Culture Centre in Jaffna. Also, a hospital with 150 beds would also be set up in Hatton as part of this assistance. Sources said it would take several years to complete some of these projects. “Some projects are in various stages of implementation,” sources said.

Asked to elaborate on the Agriculture Research Centre about to be built in the country, sources said that an Indian team had done a preliminary study on the matter and had submitted their proposals to the Indian authorities concerned for further action. “It is now just a matter of time before it becomes a reality,” the sources said.

Among the earlier projects the Indian government had given assistance to construct and renovate were the northern and southern railway projects. This was despite Chinese interest in getting the jobs. All these projects are being funded through the Line of Credit offered through the Export-Import Bank of India. Although India also expressed interest in the Hambantota airport project the Sri Lankan government turned to China for financial assistance for this project.

© Daily Mirror

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