The Loan Agreement was signed by Dr. R H S. Samaratunga, Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Mass media and David Rasquinha,Managing Director of the Export- Import Bank of India in the presence of Nihal Somaweera, Secretary to the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation, Arindam Bagchi, Deputy High Commissioner of India and Priyantha Rathnayake, Director General, Department of External Resources and distinguish officials of both Governments.The Sri Lanka Railways under the supervision of Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation will implement the projects. The Government of India has already provided four Lines of Credit for the development of railway sector in Sri Lanka through its EXIM bank amounting to approximately USD 966 million. These credit facilities have been utilized to improve the Southern and Northern railway lines and for the procurement of rolling stocks for the Sri Lanka Railways. The Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation has identified that the improving passenger transportation facilities is an urgent requirement to attract more passengers towards railway transportation which is efficient and cost effective. Further, reducing congestions in railways by improving rail tracks and signaling systems is also a key requirement to promote passenger and freight transportation.The Government of India is the major development partner of Sri Lanka in South Asian region over 40 years since 1973.During the last few years Indian foreign direct investment in Sri Lanka has expanded exponentially. Presently Indian development assistance mainly focusing on improvement of economic infrastructural facilities, livelihood development, education, healthcare, capacity building and economic renewal of Sri Lanka. (Colombo Gazette) The signing of Agreement pertaining to the above loan took place today, at the Ministry of Finance and Mass Media. An agreement to provide Indian assistance of 318 million US Dollar credit line for the development of the railway sector was signed at the Ministry of Finance today in Colombo.The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, at his first visit to Sri Lanka in March 2015 had declared a fresh Line of Credit (LOC) of USD 318 million for the development of railway sector in Sri Lanka.
‘Why care?’ – some could be tempted to ask; ‘it is a thirty years old conflict.’ But for those who have lost a loved one, it does not matter how many years have passed. The questions and pain are always present, for there is no greater object of sorrow, nothing more upsetting than a human life not being allowed to bloom to its full potential. The naming of each and every one of those who died or was made to ‘disappear’ is of the utmost importance. This is something I personally feel strongly about, and it is why I opened one of my poems from the 1980s, entitled Memory, with a line from French philosopher Paul Ricoeur, which simply said that ‘to be forgotten is to die twice”.Later today he will also visit the Monument to Memory and Truth which commemorates all the people who died during the conflict.The President will travel to Costa Rica tomorrow for the final leg of his 12-day official visit to Latin America. He is due to return to Ireland on 31 October.Column: President Higgins returned to a changed El Salvador today >Read: Aló Presidente! President begins three-country tour of Central America > PRESIDENT HIGGINS WILL visit the tomb of murdered Catholic archbishop Oscar Romero on the final day of his visit to El Salvador today.Archbishop Romero became a symbol of the country’s brutal and sustained civil war after he was shot dead in the city of San Salvador in 1980 as he was celebrating mass. He had been outspoken about horrific human rights abuses carried out by the ruling regime.An estimated 75,000 people died between 1980 and 1992 in El Salvador’s civil war as the US-backed government and military killed and tortured its own population.Michael D Higgins, who had previously visited the country in 1982, delivered a speech last night in which he spoke about memory and paying tribute to people who fought against the regime.In it, he described how the country’s social fabric was torn apart by the conflict.“Theirs was a struggle for greater social justice that included emancipation from poverty, access to land, and the basic means of livelihood for the poorest Salvadorans,” he said.