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In 2013, the Exim Bank of China and government of Sri Lanka agreed to develop sections of Matara-Kataragama Railway Line Extension project. The Exim Bank provided USD 200 million under Preferential Buyer’s Credit (PBC) facility and USD 78.2 million under Chinese Government Concessional Loan (CGL) facility. The railway project, as a part of BRI, aimed to improve transportation system in the southern part of the country. The project is being implemented in 3 phases i.e. Matara-Beliatta, Beliatta-Weerawila and Weerawila-Kataragama section. The contractors engaged for the implementation of project included China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CMC), China Railway Group 5(CR5), and China Railway Electrification Group. The construction of 26.75 km long track from Matara to Beliatta was completed by CR5 and Sri Lanka’s Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau (CECB) and it was opened for public use in April, 2019. Less than a week after project’s inauguration, media has reported malfunction in the signalling system at the Beliatta train station. It is reported CMC has been using substandard materials and construction methods. Matara to Beliatta section was reported to be “prohibitively expensive, even with its difficult terrain”. The extension of Beliatta to Hambanthota, approved by cabinet, was supposed to be started in 2021 and operational in 2023. Nonetheless, the government asserted the Matara-Kataragama railway would stimulate the socio-economic development of people in the region.

Source

https://china.aiddata.org/projects/33396/

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2019-04/10/content_37456609.htm

http://english.www.gov.cn/news/international_exchanges/2019/04/09/content_281476600706566.htm

https://www.newsfirst.lk/2019/04/12/beliatta-railway-station-not-built-to-acceptable-standards/

https://www.sundaytimes.lk/170611/news/matara-beliatta-rail-track-lankan-engineers-signal-danger-244956.html

https://www.ft.lk/Columnists/matara-beliatta-railway-costlier-than-katunayake-expressway/4-224266

https://www.hirunews.lk/english/246846/the-initial-phase-of-the-beliatta-to-hambantota-railway-line-to-be-completed-this-year

https://www.transport.gov.lk/web/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=134&Itemid=216&lang=en

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