COLOMBO: India will be fully restoring the Colombo-Jaffna rail link by mid-October this year, said S D Moorthy, the Indian Consul General in Jaffna, in his Independence Day address at the North Sri Lankan Tamil town.
“Yal Devi”, the iconic train, which used to ply between Colombo and Jaffna till it was destroyed sometime in the 1980s during the war, will greatly ease travel between North and South Sri Lanka.
Moorthy, who hails from Manaparai in Tiruchy district, said that the rail tracks laid by the Indian public sector company IRCON will be of “international standard”, making travel a pleasure.
Addressing the largest gathering ever at an Indian independence day function in Jaffna, Moorthy said that India had helped build 14,514 houses for the Tamil war refugees, and by year end, a total of 19,703 will have been completed.
On the cultural front too, the Indian Consulate has been making contributions by inviting leading Tamil Nadu artistes to perform before, and interact with, the people of Jaffna for the third year in a row. Dancer Padma Subramaniam was there recently, and dancer Lavanya Anand and vocalist Ramprasad are due soon.
Moorthy told Express that for the first time, the guests were served home-made idli, vadai and kesari, to give the fare an authentic Tamil Nadu touch.
Northern Province Governor Maj Gen G A Chandrasiri and Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran had called to convey their greetings.
The Consul General said that 20 Tamil Nadu fishermen, held at the Anuradhapura jail, were released by a magistrate in Madu on Friday. Along with the 74 released from Jaffna on Thursday, they will be repatriated to India on Saturday.