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* India has built 14,500 houses for war displaced in northern Sri Lanka - envoy
Sat, Aug 16, 2014, 11:53 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Aug 16, Jaffna: Under the Housing Project India had assisted in building 14,514 houses for the internally displaced Tamil persons in northern Sri Lanka, and at total of 19,703 houses will have been completed by the year end, the Indian Consul General in Jaffna S D Moorthy has said.

The flagship Housing Project targets to build 50,000 houses by the end of 2015.

Addressing a large gathering at a function held to mark India's Independence Day in Jaffna, Moorthy has said that India will also be fully restoring the Colombo-Jaffna rail link by mid-October this year.

The Colombo - Jaffna, Northern Railway Line reconstructed up to Jaffna with the assistance from India will be completed by September, Sri Lanka's Transport Ministry said last month.

The Yal Devi train service to Jaffna, which was suspended for nearly 30 years, due to LTTE terrorist activities is expected to resume operations on 15 October.

The rail line is being reconstructed in stages by the India Railway Construction International Ltd. (IRCON) with the financial and technical assistance from India.

According to the Indian High Commissioner Y.K. Sinha India's development cooperation projects amounted to around US$ 1.3 billion overall.

India was also committed to closer economic cooperation with Sri Lanka, Sinha has said.

The India Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (ISLFTA), which aims to exploit the synergies and complementarities that exist between the two countries, has led to a sharp increase in bilateral trade and investment flows, he has noted.

The Indian envoy has said that on the cultural front too, the Indian Consulate has been making contributions by inviting leading Tamil Nadu artistes to perform before, and interact with, the people of Jaffna for the third year in a row.

The Indian Consul General in Jaffna has told the Express News Service said that 20 Tamil Nadu fishermen, held at the Anuradhapura jail, were released by a magistrate in Madu on Friday. Along with the 74 released from Jaffna on Thursday, they will be repatriated to India on Saturday.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa ordered the release of all Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody as a goodwill gesture to mark India's Independence Day.

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