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Contract signed for Railway signalling system

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The Contract for Design, Installation, Testing & Commissioning of Signalling system for Sri Lanka Railways from Maho to Anuradhapura (66 km) was signed between the Ministry of Transport and Highways of Sri Lanka and IRCON Ltd today (September 21, 2023) in the presence of the Minister of Transport and Highways of Sri Lanka – Dr. Bandula Gunawardane and the High Commissioner of India in Sri Lanka – Mr. Gopal Baglay. 

Governor of the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka – Senthil Thondaman; State Minister of Highways of Sri Lanka – Siripala Gamalath; senior officials from the Sri Lankan Ministry of Transport and Highways, Sri Lankan Railways and IRCON Ltd were also present during the signing event. 

The mentioned project is being executed under an Indian Line of Credit (LOC) of USD 318 million at a cost of USD 14.90 million.

In his remarks at the event, High Commissioner stressed the significance of the Signalling project for easing movement of the people of Sri Lanka, accelerating economic recovery of the country and strengthening the cooperation between the two countries. He highlighted that LOC for this project in the current situation, symbolises the continued desire of the Government and the people of India to stand with the people of Sri Lanka. 

The Minister of Transport and Highways – Dr. Bandula Gunawardane thanked Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and the Government of India for supporting Sri Lanka in multiple ways, especially during the economic crisis last year. It was also pointed out that Sri Lankan railway projects have received support in the form of LOCs in recent times only from India.

Projects of over USD 1 billion in the Railway sector have been completed under 5 Indian LOCs till date. IRCON Ltd, which started its operations in Sri Lanka in March 2009, has completed several projects in Sri Lanka with Indian assistance and has contributed significantly towards rehabilitation and modernization of Sri Lanka Railways, capacity building and employment generation.

At present, IRCON Ltd is undertaking a project for upgradation of the Railway Line including track Rehabilitation and ancillary works from Maho to Omanthai (128 km) at a cost of USD 91.27 million. 

Under this project, while track rehabilitation work from Anuradhapura to Omanthai has already been completed, work on the section from Anuradhapura to Maho will commence from January 2024.

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Man arrested over selling overpriced Vadai to tourist

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The Tourist Police in Moragolla has arrested a man over selling an overpriced Vadai and tea to a foreign  tourist in Kalutara.

Footage of the incident had sparked public ire after going viral online.

It has been revealed that the suspect is a 60 year old residing in Kalutara and is usually seen loitering near the eatery.

Police say that investigtations have revealed that he had duped foreigners visiting the eatery many times.

He is to be produced before the Kalutara Magistrate Court tomorrow (April 19).

It is also reported that officials of the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) and the Moragolla Tourist police have also arrived at the eatery, and sternly advised the owner after questioning him.

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NPP’s 7-point statement on Easter attacks, presented to the Cardinal

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The National People’s Power (NPP) today (April 18) presented to Archbishop of Colombo – Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, their 7-point statement pledging to mete out justice to the victims of the Easter Sunday attacks.

The statement included key points such as implementing law against those responsible for the attacks so as to mete out justice to those who lost lives in the attacks and family members of the victims and to take action against those who were directly or indirectly involved in the attacks.

NPP members Professor Krishantha Abeysinghe, Attorney-at-Law Sunil Watagala, President’s Counsel Upul Kumarapperuma, Rohan Fernando and Aruna Shantha Nonis participated in the occasion.

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IMF ready to support Sri Lanka’s discussions with bondholders

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) stands ready to support Sri Lanka’s discussions with international bondholders and will provide a formal assessment after the parties reach a tentative agreement-in-principle, an IMF spokesperson said on Thursday.

“We hope an agreement consistent with the parameters of the IMF-supported program and official creditors’ Comparability of Treatment requirements can be reached soon, ahead of completing the second review under the program,” the spokesperson said.

Sri Lanka said it failed to reach an agreement with bondholders to restructure about $12 billion debt earlier this week, raising concerns there could be a delay in the island nation receiving a third tranche of its $2.9 billion IMF program in June.

The government said one of the main stumbling blocks had been that the “baseline parameters” of the bondholders’ plan had not matched those embedded in its IMF program.

“We encourage both parties to continue their discussions swiftly,” the IMF statement added.

Sri Lanka will consult with the IMF to assess if the latest proposals discussed with bondholders were within the parameters of its bailout program.
The island nation defaulted on its foreign debt in May 2022 and kicked off negotiations with bilateral creditors several months later, eventually securing an agreement in principle with China, India and the Paris Club last November.

Sri Lanka plunged into its worst financial crisis since independence from the British in 1948 after its foreign exchange reserves fell to record lows in early 2022, leaving it unable to pay for essentials including fuel, cooking gas, and medicine.

(Reuters) 

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