India has agreed to cooperate with Sri Lanka for developing road infrastructure in the Jaffna region of the island nation. The Indo-Sri Lanka Cooperation in road construction came up for discussion when Road, Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari called on visiting Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Vickramasinghe. “During the discussions, the Sri Lankan prime minister invited the Government of India to take up development of three major road stretches – Jaffna to Mannar, Mannar to Vavuniya and Dambulla to Tricomalee,” an official said.
The Sri Lankan prime minister, who is on a five-day visit to India, said that these stretches are important for the development of the Jaffna region. “The minister assured the Sri Lankan Prime Minister that Government of India and his Ministry shall fully cooperate with Sri Lankan government’s efforts in developing world-class infrastructure in Sri Lanka,” the official said.
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The minister also suggested that taking up all these stretches for development may only be possible with the active support of Sri Lankan agencies for land acquisition and local clearances. Without acquisition and other clearances in place, it will be difficult to complete the project in time.
The Indian delegation accompanying Gadkari proposed that a suitable financial model for developing these roads may be put in place. “On receiving the final formal proposal, the minister assured that we may look at appointing an international consultant to take up detailed study and preparation of feasibility report and DPR (detailed project report) for these stretches,” the official added. Wickremsinghe, who arrived here yesterday on a five-day visit to India, will be making a private trip outside the capital from tomorrow.