New Delhi: The Indian government has agreed to cooperate with Sri Lanka in developing world-class road infrastructure in the Jaffna region of the island nation. The decision was taken during a telephone conversation between Indian minister for road transport and highways and Nitin Gadkari and Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe.

A senior road ministry official said on condition of anonymity that the Sri Lankan PM had invited the Indian government to take up development of three major stretches of the road. These are Jaffna-to-Mannar, Mannar-to-Vavuniya and Dambulla-to-Tricomalee streches, which are very important for connectivity in Sri Lanka.

Gadkari assured Wickramasinghe of cooperation, but suggested that taking up all these stretches for development may only be possible if Sri Lankan agencies manage to get local clearances and acquire land, the official cited above said.

“Without (land) acquisition and other clearances in place, it will be difficult to complete the project in time," the official cited the minister as saying.

A proposal for a financial model to develop these roads was also discussed.

Gadkari said that on receiving a final formal proposal the Indian government will be able to go ahead and look at appointing an international consultant to prepare a detailed project report.

He added that his ministry was actively supporting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment to strengthening bilateral relations between India and Sri Lanka.

My Reads Logout