India signs MoU with Colombo to ‘rehabilitate’ KKS harbour

[TamilNet, Friday, 22 July 2011, 00:27 GMT]
The government of India entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Rajapaksa regime of Sri Lanka on Thursday to carry out a “complex and wide-ranging project” to “rehabilitate” the Kaangkeasanthu'rai (KKS) harbour in the SL Army occupied High Security Zone in Valikaamam, Jaffna.

Palaali, KKS, SL military occupied HSZ
The Sri Lankan military occupied High Security Zone (HSZ) along the northern coast of Jaffna peninsula, that evicted a large number of Tamil civilians from their homes for two decades now [Satellite image courtesy: Google Earth]

India - SL agreement on KKS
Indian High Commissioner for Colombo, Ashok K. Kantha and Secretary to the Ministry of Ports and Highways, Mrs Sujatha Cooray signed the documents in Colombo on behalf of the two neighbouring governments to formally give effect to the much-desired multi-million dollar project in the north, a statement from the Indian High Commission in Colombo said.

“The Kankesanthurai Harbour project will be aided by a mix of grant funding and concessional credit from the Government of India,” the statement said, adding that the project was agreed and announced during the state visit to India by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in June 2010.

“While the total expenditure on the project will be determined by the Detailed Project Report (DPR) that will be prepared, the Government of India has already committed approximately $20 million (SLR 2.2 billion) for three initial elements, consisting of the preliminary hydrographic survey, geotechnical investigations and DPR preparation and wreck removal and salvage,” it said.

In addition to this, the Indian government has also agreed to “provide additional grant funding for the dredging of the harbour and concessional credit for the rehabilitation of the breakwater and construction of a new pier and attendant port facilities”.

In his remarks at the signing ceremony, Indian High Commissioner Ashok K. Kantha has said that the restoration of physical infrastructure at the KKS harbour “would contribute towards the reconstruction efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka, promote normalcy in northern Sri Lanka by restoring traditional domestic and regional linkages and give a fillip to economic activity by encouraging trade”.

The Indian High Commissioner has also appreciated the strong support and cooperation extended by the Government of Sri Lanka at every stage of the project formulation and preparation and highlighted the key role played by the SL Ministry of Defence and the SL Ministry of External Affairs.

Preliminary Hydrographic survey has already been completed by an Indian agency in June-July 2010 as part of the preparation for this project. The Indian government through the Shipping Corporation of India, has awarded a contract for removal and disposal of six wrecks at KKS harbour to Resolve Salvage and Fire (Asia) Pvt Ltd, Singapore at a total cost of $19 million.

“The company has already completed its mobilisation of recourses involved in the contract. There are six wrecks to be removed, of which four are inside and two are outside the harbour,” the statement said on Thursday.

Wreck removal work, funded by an Indian grant, is expected to be completed by mid-November 2011. The dredging of the harbour, to be undertaken by the Dredging Corporation of India (DCI), is expected to commence in late 2011.

The contract for Geo-technical and Geo-physical studies and preparation of Detailed Project Report (DPR) has been awarded to RITES Ltd of India. The scope of work would include rehabilitation of the existing breakwater, construction of a new pier and related port facilities.

India will provide a Line of Credit to Sri Lanka for undertaking works relating to rehabilitation of the breakwater, additional pier/s for commercial cargo handling and the installation of port infrastructure facilities.

Rehabilitation of the Kaangkeasan-thu'rai harbour was among other infrastructure projects India has agreed to fund in Sri Lanka’s north, supporting the Rajapaksa government, which is widely alleged for the slaughter of 40,000 Tamils during the final weeks of the war in Vanni in 2009.

Both the SL President Mahinda Rajapaksa and SL Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa have gone on record that they were waging India's war and that a key Indian troika was continuously consulted throughout the war, especially during the final stages in 2009.


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