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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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Presidential Poll can be held with Acting IGP – Fmr. Election Chief

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Former Chairman of the Election Commission Mahinda Deshapriya said there is no obstacle to holding the Presidential Election with an Acting Inspector General of Police.

He said he believes the current IGP can hold the position he held before until the court hearing concludes.

He said he believes a suitable person should be appointed as Acting IGP tomorrow, adding that there may be no IGP until the hearing concludes, but the election can be held under an Acting IGP.

He added that there is no issue because if the country is governed under an appointed President, it is not a big deal to conduct the election under an Acting IGP.

(News1st) 

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Japan officially notifies SL to resume disbursement to Yen loan projects

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Following the completion of the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Official Creditor Committee (OCC) and Sri Lanka on 23 July and the expression of the willingness by the Government of Sri Lanka to swiftly conclude a bilateral agreement on debt restructuring, the Government of Japan has officially decided to resume disbursement to Yen Loan Projects, which had been suspended since the default of Sri Lanka in 2022.

On 24 July, the Government of Sri Lanka, the Embassy of Japan and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Sri Lanka Office held a joint press conference to inaugurate this milestone decision at Ministry of Finance.

While congratulating the completion of the MOU on debt restructuring between Sri Lanka and the OCC, Ambassador MIZUKOSHI Hideaki highlighted the unprecedented initiative and outstanding contribution by the Government of Japan, as a co-chair of the OCC, in leading and concluding the public debt restructuring.

Ambassador Mizukoshi also commended Sri Lankan authorities for their ongoing efforts in implementing the comprehensive economic and social reforms essential to guide the country back to a sustainable path. He stated that all the suspended yen loan projects are crucial infrastructures that promote Sri Lanka’s economic growth and further reaffirmed Japan’s continuous and unwavering commitment to supporting Sri Lanka.

On behalf of Mr. Yamada Tetsuya, Chief Representative of JICA Sri Lanka Office, Ms. Ide Yuri, Senior Representative, handed over the official letter on this decision to Mr. Mahinda Siriwardana, Secretary to the Treasury, which is addressed to President Wickremesinghe from Dr. Tanaka Akihiko, President of JICA.

Ms. Ide Yuri expressed her hope that the resumption of Yen loan projects will contribute to stabilizing the economy and society of Sri Lanka and help gain momentum toward long-term sustainable growth, thus paving the way for Sri Lanka to recover trust and confidence from the people and private businesses of both Sri Lanka and the world.

Secretary Siriwardana expressed his profound gratitude for this decision and sincere appreciation for Japan’s excellent initiative and long-term dedication in the debt restructuring.

It is hoped that the resumption of disbursement to Yen loan projects would further strengthen the bond between Japan and Sri Lanka, as well as help this island nation bring itself back on track for further economic development, serving as a hub in the Indian Ocean.

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Cabinet takes decision following SC order on IGP

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During a special Cabinet briefing today (July 24), it has been decided to announce its response to the decision of the Supreme Court regarding the Inspector General of Police (IGP) within the next two days after studying in depth the legal aspects of the matter.

The special cabinet meeting chaired by President Ranil Wickramasinghe was held this evening at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo.

The Cabinet of Ministers had been of the opinion that since the decision of the Supreme Court regarding the IGP was received only this afternoon, adequate time is needed to conduct an in-depth study of the related legal issues.

Accordingly, it was unanimously decided that it would be most suitable to announce the response of the Cabinet in the next two days.

Earlier today, the Supreme Court issued an interim order preventing Deshabandu Tennakoon from performing duties and functioning in the position of the IGP.

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