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* India hands over new power sets for Sri Lanka's Southern Railway Line
Fri, Mar 11, 2011, 01:39 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 10, Matara: The Government of India today officially handed over new Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) for Southern Railway Line of Sri Lanka.

The High Commissioner of India, Ashok K. Kantha, Thursday (10) participated as the Guest of Honour in the handing over ceremony of new Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) organized by Sri Lanka Railways in Matara.

The first Power Set ceremoniously began the journey from Matara railway station today along the newly built high-speed Galle - Matara railway line.

The function today marked the supply and commissioning of 3 sets of Diesel Multiple Units, each unit containing 6 coaches, under the line of credit extended by Government of India.

A press release from the Indian High Commission said 20 such DMUs would be supplied in a phased manner till March 2012.

RITES Ltd, a company run by the Indian government, is supplying the DMUs to Sri Lanka Railways.

The 20 powers sets are a part of India's assistance towards reconstruction in the tsunami-affected areas of Sri Lanka under a credit line of US $ 167.40 million.

The line of credit also includes upgrading of railway track from Galle-Matara and Galle-Kalutara sections and creation of maintenance facilities for the rolling stock.

Speaking at the occasion, High Commissioner said that India is providing assistance for upgrading the southern costal railway line on the request of the Government of Sri Lanka.

He said that the developmental assistance extended by India is entirely on the priorities and requirement of the Government of Sri Lanka. These projects are not commercial in nature. The line of credit being extended by India is highly concessional, the Indian envoy said.

Both RITES and IRCON International Ltd which builds the rail tracks are reputed public sector companies of India with proven track record, the High Commissioner said adding that the two companies implementing the project are utilizing the best available technology in India.

He said the Indian companies are recruiting the local am power to execute the railway upgradation project generating direct and indirect employment.

The High Commissioner said as a part of the project, capacity building, and training of Sri Lankan Railway personnel is also being carried out and 600 personnel will be trained in India. About 400 of the personnel have already been trained.

Sri Lanka's Minister of Transport Kumar Welgama, Minister of Agriculture Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, Deputy Speaker of the Parliament Chandima Weerakkody, , officials from RITES Ltd, Sri Lanka Railways and IRCON also participated in the ceremony.

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