India has extended a fresh financial assistance of $45.27 million for upgrading Kankesanthurai (KKS) Harbour in northern Sri Lanka into a commercial port and strengthening the country’s efforts to become a regional maritime hub. Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Finance and Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) signed an agreement in this regard on January 10, the Indian High Commission said. “An agreement for Indian financial assistance for $45.27 million (LKR 6.9 billion) for upgrading Kankesanthurai (KKS) Harbour was signed on January 10 in New Delhi by David Rasquinha, Managing Director, Export-Import Bank of India and RHS Samaratunga, Secretary to Treasury of Sri Lanka,” the statement said. The upgradation project would make KKS Harbour a full-fledged commercial port, further strengthening Sri Lanka’s efforts to become a regional maritime hub, the statement said. It would also assist in reconstruction efforts in northern Sri Lanka.
In terms of the MoU between India and Sri Lanka for rehabilitation of KKS Harbour, four out of the six phases of the rehabilitation have already been completed under India’s grant assistance. This includes preparation of Detailed Project Report (DPR), works related to Geo-technical studies, wreck removal and disposal, dredging and hydrographic survey. The fresh assistance of $45.27 million would be used for the remaining two phases involving works relating to the rehabilitation of the breakwater and existing pier, construction of a new pier for commercial cargo handling, installation of port infrastructure facilities, etc.
“The signing of the MoU is a reflection of the continued commitment of Government of India to assist Sri Lanka in its development journey,” the statement said. The KKS port was rendered useless after the LTTE attacked it during the civil war. The port was key in connecting the Jaffna peninsula with the rest of Sri Lanka and also India.