19 January 2012

India & Sri Lanka Sign Deals Worth $ 703mn and Five Bilateral Agreements. Highlight of the Visit of India’s Foreign Minister S M Krishna


18th January 2012, www.ft.lk

ndia and Sri Lanka yesterday signed bilateral deals worth over $ 703 million, largely involving financial assistance from the giant neighbor boosting housing, railway and water supply among other areas.
The two countries signed five bilateral agreements, a key highlight of the visit of India’s Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna, who arrived on Monday on a four-day tour.

A MoU specifying the modalities for the next phase of the Housing Project being implemented with India’s assistance of approximately $ 260 million was signed by Krishna and his Lankan counterpart Prof. G.L. Peiris.

The MoU involves the construction of 49,000 houses, out of a total of 50,000 houses and includes inter alia reconstruction of 38,000 houses, repairs of 5,000 houses under the owner-driven model for IDPs, and construction of 6,000 houses by agencies for vulnerable sections of IDPs who are unable to build their own houses.  A pilot project for construction of first 1,000 houses is already in an advance stage of completion.
Additionally a Line of Credit Agreement of $ 382.37 million for the restoration of Northern Railway Services was signed by T.C.A. Ranganathan, Chairman and Managing Director, EXIM Bank of India and Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Planning, Government of Sri Lanka.

The Line of Credit will be used for track-laying on the Pallai-Kankesanthurai railway line, setting up of signalling and telecommunications systems for the northern railway line and other projects as may be mutually agreed by the Governments of India and Sri Lanka.

The two countries also signed a Buyer’s Credit Agreement for $ 60.69 million for financing the Greater Dambulla Water Supply Project for supply, erection and commissioning of water treatment plant and distribution across Dambulla region in Sri Lanka. Signatories were Ranganathan and Dr. Jayasundera.

Two agreements were signed promoting technical cooperation.

One was a MoU on cooperation in the field of agriculture signed by Ashok K. Kantha, High Commissioner of India and W. Sakalasooriya, Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of Sri Lanka. Under the MoU, both sides shall promote development of cooperation in the fields of agricultural science and technology, agricultural production and agro-processing through joint activities, programmes, exchange of scientific materials, information and personnel. The cooperation will be effected through biennial work Plans and joint activities.

The other was an MoU was signed by Dr. J.S. Sarma, Chairman, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and Mr. Anusha Palpita, Director General, Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka  (TRCSL). The MoU provides for establishing a mechanism of technical and institutional cooperation in the field of telecommunications, with the purpose of development of telecommunications in both the countries particularly in the areas of technological developments, universal access to telecommunication services, oversight of service provision, convergence, next generation networks, new technologies, spectrum issues, green telecom, number portability, economic regulation, ICTs for development and other issues as may be mutually agreed.

Image By Sudath Silva

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