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SL, India sign MoUs for housing project for IDPs, restoration of Northern Railway line

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Sri Lanka and India yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding specifying the modalities for the next phase of the Housing Project being implemented with India's assistance of approximately US$ 260 million.

Visiting Indian Minister of External Affairs S.M. Krishna and External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris signed the agreement yesterday in Colombo.

Under the MoU India will provide assistance to construct 49,000 houses, out of a total of 50,000 houses for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Northern and Eastern provinces.

Under the first phase of the project, 38,000 new houses are to be constructed and in the second phase repair work of about 5,000 houses will be carried out under the owner-driven model for IDPs in the Northern and Eastern provinces.

A pilot project for construction of first 1,000 houses in Jaffna is already in an advance stage of completion.

The two countries also signed an agreement for India to provide a Line of Credit of US$ 382.37 million for the restoration of Northern Railway Services.

Mr. T.C.A. Ranganathan, Chairman and Managing Director, EXIM Bank of India and Dr. P.B. Jayasundara, Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Planning, Government of Sri Lanka signed the Agreement today.

The Line of Credit will be used for track laying on the Pallai- Kankasanthurai railway line, setting up of signaling and telecommunications systems for the Northern Railway Line and other projects as may be mutually agreed by the two governments.

The two officials also signed a Buyer's Credit Agreement for US$ 60.69 million between the EXIM Bank of India and Government of Sri Lanka for financing Greater Dambulla Water Supply Project for supply, erection and commissioning of water treatment plant and distribution across Dambulla region in Sri Lanka.

A MoU between the two governments on cooperation in the field of Agriculture was inked by the High Commissioner of India Ashok K. Kantha and Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture, W. Sakalasooriya.

A High Commission statement said under the MoU, both sides will promote development of cooperation in the fields of agricultural science and technology, agricultural production and agro-processing through joint activities, programmes, exchange of scientific materials, information and personnel. The cooperation will be effected through biennial work Plans and joint activities.

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) also signed a MoU.

The Mou, signed by Chairman, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Dr. J.S. Sarma, and Director General, Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL)Mr. Anusha Palpita, for establishing a mechanism of technical and institutional cooperation in the field of telecommunications, with the purpose of development of telecommunications in both countries.