Sea Links

July 24, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka plans to propose reviving ferry services and a railway link with India, across the Palk Straits, at a conference of south Asian transport ministers in Colombo, the island’s transport ministry said. The two proposals will be put forward by the government during a meeting of transport ministers of the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) in Colombo on Saturday, the ministry said in a statement.

Sri Lanka is keen to have a ferry service between Colombo port and the ports of Cochin and Tuticorin on India’s south coasts, it said.

Previous efforts to have ferry services between Colombo and south Indian ports were stale because of security concerns arising from the island’s ethnic war

The government is also keen to revive the railway connection that existed between the two countries, between Talaimannar on Sri Lanka’s north-west coast and Dhanushkodi, in India.

The railway and ferry service was disrupted in the early 1980s after the island’s ethnic war intensified.

But Sri Lankan government forces defeated the Tamil Tiger separatists in May and the government has said the end of the war is expected to revive the island economy.

The south Asian transport