Indian Railways engineering and construction company IRCON International Limited has agreed with the Sri Lankan government to extend the more than 100-year-old Maho Omanthai rail line. The rail line will be expanded under the funding of Indian concessions, and this is the first time the line will be expanded in 100 years. The contract, worth $91.26 million, was signed Thursday in Colombo, according to an IANS report. Sunil Kumar Choudhury, President of IRCON, and LP Jayampathy, Secretary of Sri Lanka`s Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation, signed the agreement in the presence of Arjuna Ranatunga, Sri Lanka`s Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation. The upgrade includes the transformation of 12 intersections, seven stops and 78 crossings. The Maho Omanthai project continues India`s efforts to collaborate with Colombo on human-centred connectivity projects in Sri Lanka. The agreement provides for the revaluation of a distance of 130 km, more than 100 years old, between Colombo and Jaffna, in the northern majority province of Tamil. This agreement is part of India`s continued support for the continued construction of the Sri Lankan railways. New Delhi has so far committed $1.3 billion in credit lines for the development of the area on the island, including the restoration of an arterial railway line destroyed during the civil war and the southern railway line of the island hit by the 2004 tsunami. India has also made a significant contribution to building the capacity of Sri Lankan railway personnel. Previously, IRCON completed the upgrading of the 114 km Colombo-Matara tram line under India`s credit line, the reconstruction of the Madhu Road Line in the Northern Province and the re-establishment of the northern railway line from Omanthai to Jaffna. The agreement was signed between IRCON International Limited and the Sri Lankan government under the concession financing system in India, as reported by the Indian High Commission in Colombo.

Sri Lanka`s transport minister thanked the Indian government for its generous support for the development of Sri Lanka`s transport sector, including railways and air. The tsunami-affected Southern Railway was also developed as part of the Indian Line of Credit. To date, India has expanded some 300 kilometres of railway tracks and provided Sri Lanka with a modern signalling and telecommunications system for approximately 330 kilometres of track. The funding contract was signed on 18 July in Colombo between the Sri Lankan government and IRCON International Ltd, represented by Arjuna Ranatunga, Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, and Sunil Kumar Choudhury, President and CEO, IRCON. The contract was signed on Thursday between IRCON International Limited and the Sri Lankan government in Colombo. To date, India has committed approximately $1.3 billion in credit lines for the development of the rail sector in Sri Lanka. This is the first time in 100 years that the 130 km of roads leading from the town of Maho in the northwestern province of Omanthai, in the northern province, have been developed. The aim of this initiative is to double the speed potential of the line, which is currently 60 km/h to 120 km/h, to reduce maintenance costs and potentially improve the travel comfort of passengers, according to a press release from the Indian High Commission.