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India pledges US $ 61.5mn grant to develop KKS Port in the North.

By: Staff Writer

March 20, Colombo (LNW): In yet another instance of India’s growing role as a development aid partner for its neighbouring countries, New Delhi has pledged t a sum of US $61.5 million as a grant to Sri Lanka to fully develop the Kankesanthurai (KKS) Port in the country’s Northern Province.

The message was conveyed during a meeting between Indian High Commissioner Santosh Jha and Ports, Shipping and Aviation Minister NimalSiripala de Silva, a communiqué from the Ministry noted.

“As part of the project, a new breakwater will be constructed, and the port will be dredged up to a depth of 30 meters to accommodate deep-draft vessels,” it added.

During the discussion, the Indian High Commissioner has expressed India›s commitment to enhancing regional cooperation and connectivity between the two countries. He has also pledged their fullest support to attract more Indian tourists to Sri Lanka.

He also said that the Indian Government has designated Sri Lanka as the top tier travel destination for Indian tourists, and hailed the commencement of flights between Chennai and Jaffna.

The Ports Minister disclosed the construction of a new terminal which is underway with an investment of Rs. 600 million at the Port of Kankesanthurai, will cater to the convenience of Indian tourists.

De Silva also highlighted that over the past year, a significant number of Indian tourists have visited Sri Lanka.

In February this year, the Cabinet of Ministers approved a proposal to offer an affordable travel fee system between India and Sri Lanka to promote tourism.

As per the approved measures, the embarkation tax currently levied on passengers departing Sri Lanka via passenger ferries is reduced from $ 60 to $ 5, whilst the passenger ships will be slashed from $ 60 to $ 20.

Situated in the northern region of Sri Lanka, the KKS Port covers an area of approximately 16 acres. The port is located at a distance of 56 nautical miles from Karaikal Port, Pondicherry, India. When it comes to overland travel, the distance between the port and the nearest land is approximately 23 km.

With an investment of SLR400 million, plans have been finalized to utilise the KKS Port, which is owned by the Ports Authority SLPA, for the transportation of passenger vessels and cargo between Sri Lanka and India.

Apart from a terminal building, the port now boasts well-established security, customs, immigration facilities, and state-of-the-art equipment, ensuring smooth and efficient operations.

Significant focus is currently being placed on the development of the KKS Port as a matter of national interest.

Under the KKS Port development project, it has been planned to repair and rehabilitate the existing breakwaters, piers and roads including dredging and wreck removal and construction of a new pier and a warehouse.

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