India and SL sign MoU

Published : 9:10 am  April 27, 2017 | No comments so far |  | 


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By Kelum Bandara   
Sri Lanka and India yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in economic projects after talks between Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in New Delhi. 

The MoU, which was signed yesterday, received the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers on Tuesday. According to the MoU that was endorsed by the Cabinet here, there are 12 economic projects outlined for execution by the two sides here.   

The development of Trincomalee Oil Tank Farm and the lease out of related land to Lanka Indian Oil Company for a period of 50 years are among them.   

The establishment of Indian industrial zones, a Liquefied Natural Gas fired power project for the generation of 500 Megawatts of electricity, setting up a piped gas distribution centre in Colombo and its suburbs and retail outlets for supply of compressed Natural Gas are among the proposed projects.   

Also, it is proposed to develop the Dambulla -Trincomalee expressway under a Joint Venture between the two countries. The development of roads in Sri Lanka such as the Mannar-Jaffna road and the Mannar –Trincomalee highways are also mentioned among these projects.   

According to the MoU, the two sides should encourage Indian companies to invest in a Container Terminal in Colombo Port. Besides, it is agreed to develop the railway sector in Sri Lanka including new projects of track upgrading and purchase of rolling stock.   

The MoU says that a solar power plant is proposed in Sampur, Trincomalee. In the past, a coal project was proposed at that location. However, the government of Sri Lanka rescinded that project as it decided to move for renewable energy projects as a priority.  The scope of the agreement signed yesterday was broad and encompasses all sectors in its development goal.   

However, a press release from the Prime Minister’s office said the agreement was not final and that decisions pertaining to the projects that come under it will be made only after another round of talks involving all stake holders.    Japan is also expected to get involved in some of the projects as part of a tripartite arrangement.