The External Affairs Minister of India, S.M. Krishna flagging off the first train declared open the Galle - Hikkaduwa section of the Southern coastal railway line that was reconstructed with the assistance from India.
The 19-kilometer segment between Galle and Hikkaduwa of the Southern railway line was executed by IRCON International Ltd, a leading Indian company in railway infrastructure.
India had pledged a line of credit of US$ 167.4 million as part of India's effort to assist the Sri Lankan government in the Southern Railway coastal project to reconstruct the rail track from Colombo to Matara.
The assistance involves reconstruction of railway lines, training of personnel from Sri Lanka Railways in India, procurement of rolling stock and building of maintenance sheds.
Under the first phase of the project the reconstructed 42-kilometer Galle-Matara segment was opened in February 2011 for high-speed passenger train transport. Work on the second phase from Galle to Kalutara began at the same time.
The section from Galle to Kalutara will be completed on schedule, by April this year.
Minister Krishna also recalled the launching of the Northern Railway Project in November 2010 to assist Sri Lanka to reconstruct the northern rail track which was destroyed by the Tamil tiger terrorists during their occupation of the northern region.
"We expect all the projects relating to rehabilitation of the Northern Railway line by IRCON, being funded under an Indian Credit line of US$ 800 million, to be completed by the end of 2013," the Indian Minister said.