British Asia News Network – KL
Sri-Lanka, 10th April 2019 – On Monday the Sri Lankan government inaugurated its fastest railway line the country has had. Built with the assistance of the Chinese government, contract was awarded to the China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation, project was financed by the Export-Import Bank of China (China Exim bank). According to Sri Lankan media reports, the total cost of the project was $278 million.
The first 26.75-km Matara-Beliatta railway extension has been completed and is the first for Sri Lanka since their independent in 1948.
Inauguration carried out by several high dignitaries, Arjuna Ranatunga, Sri Lanka’s Transport and Civil Aviation Minister, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera, and other parliamentarians.
A major part of construction was carried out by the China Railway Group 5 (CR5) and Sri Lanka’s Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau (CECB).
“The railway line is the first railway project contracted by the Chinese company in Sri Lanka under the BRI and it is indeed the first railway built after country’s independence.” Stated Lu Kang Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman. He also stated that the aim is to make regional transportation more convenient and aid the local economic and social development on the national island.
The railway project construction from Matara to Kataragama started back in 1991 by former president Ranasinghe Premadasa. Then the Matara-Beliatta railway extension was added which includes the 1st and 2nd longest railway bridges of 1.5 km and 1.04 km and includes one of the longest railways tunnels, the tallest railway bridges, and the most modern railway station buildings in Sri Lanka. Something for the nation to be proud of!