Sri Lanka has awarded the contract for a critical railway line project to a Chinese company. The project that is valued at USD 600 million comprises the development of second and third stages of the railway line project in Sri Lanka, according to the top ranking official from the Sri Lankan transport ministry. This information was shared with the press by Kumara Welgama, the Transport Minister of Sri Lanka.
This railway project will improve connectivity between the two towns of Kataragama and Beliatta, as per the state of the country’s transport minister. This project is being funded by the Exim Bank of China via a loan. The actual construction will be undertaken by the China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CNMIEC).
According to officials, phase one of the project will begin from Matara to Beliatta and will see the railway line being extended by 28 kilometers. This particular phase is already being constructed by the CNMIEC with an investment of nearly USD 272 million.
Given that the EXIM bank decided to fund the project, Sri Lanka has chosen a Chinese company to complete the project, said the transport minister to reporters recently.
Officials expect the first phase of this railway line to be operational in 2016, if completed on schedule. The railway line is being laid parallel to another highway that has been built based on funds from China.
Ever since Sri Lanka marked the end of its 30-year civil war in 2009, China has been extending maximum loans to the country. In 2009, China granted a loan of USD 1.2 billion to Sri Lanka whereas in 2010 it loaned USD 821 million to the island country. In fact, in 2013 China’s funding made up over one-fourth of the total foreign funding that Sri Lanka received. This information was provided by the finance ministry of Sri Lanka.