July 26, Kankasanthurai: Sri Lanka with the assistance of Indian government today inaugurated the project to rehabilitate the Kankasanthurai (KKS) Harbour in Northern Province.
Following on the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and an Agreement on July 21 between India and Sri Lanka for the rehabilitation of the KKS Harbour, Sri Lankan Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa and High Commissioner of India Ashok K. Kantha inaugurated the work on the wreck-removal and salvage portion of the project today at a ceremony in Kankasanthurai.
A press release issued by the Indian High Commission in Colombo said India has made available Rs. 2.18 billion (US$19 million) as a fully grant-funded project for the wreck removal work in Kankasanthurai. India has also funded an initial hydrographic survey, completed in June-July 2010.
The agreement was a result of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to India in June 2010. In the Joint Declaration issued during his visit India has agreed to extend assistance for the rehabilitation of the Kankasanthurai Harbour among other infrastructure projects in the Northern Province.
The Kankasanthurai Harbour rehabilitation project is a complex and wide-ranging project that will be completed in multiple stages.
Following the wreck removal works, India will also provide grant funding for the preparation of a Detailed Project Report (DPR), geo-technical investigations and dredging of the harbour and approach channel. In addition to this, the Government of India will also make available concessional credit for the rehabilitation of the breakwater and construction of a new pier and attendant port facilities in the Harbour.
In his remarks after the signing ceremony, High Commissioner Kantha has said that the signature of agreements last week to formalize this MoU and the commencement of work earlier today were a reflection of the commitment of the Government of India to assist the Government and people of Sri Lanka, especially in the Northern Province, as they seek to recover from years of conflict and restore peace, stability and development in the country.
“Restoration of physical infrastructure at the Harbour would contribute towards the reconstruction efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka, promote normalcy in northern Sri Lanka by restoring traditional commercial linkages, both domestic and regional and give a fillip to economic activity by encouraging trade,” the High Commissioner has said pointing out that the allied activities at the Harbour would also generate employment in the area.
The High Commissioner appreciated the strong support and cooperation extended by the Government of Sri Lanka at every stage of project formulation and preparation and noted the key role played by the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Ports and Highways, the Ministry of External Affairs and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority.
In his remarks, Minister Rajapaksa has expressed the appreciation of the Government of Sri Lanka for the assistance being provided for this important project by the Government of India. He said that the Government and people of India had always supported the development efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka. While noting that India was involved with a number of other development activities in the Northern Province as well as in other parts of Sri Lanka, he said that with Indian assistance, Kankasanthurai would become a bigger and better port and be able to function as the hub of economic development in the Northern Province.
Also present at the ceremony were Minister of Traditional Industries Small Enterprise Development, Mr. Douglas Devananda, Governor of the Northern Province, Major General (Rtd) G.A Chandrasiri, Deputy Minister of Ports and Highways, Rohitha Abeygunawardena, Secretary of Ministry of Ports and Highways, Mrs. Sujatha Cooray, the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Dr. Priyath B. Wickrama, senior civil and military officials of Jaffna, as well as the political leadership of the area.