SRI LANKA: The government has signed a contract for China National Machinery Import & Export Corp to build the first phase of the 110 km Matara – Kataragama line along the south coast. The initial section will run 30 km east from Matara to Beliatta, with four stations, and is to be built with Chinese financial assistance.

A second phase will take the line to Hambantota, and the final stage will complete the line to Kataragama. President Mahinda Rajapaksa wants the first stage to be completed by the end of this year. He has also instructed Sri Lanka Railways to seek private sector assistance for a national programme to renovate stations and upgrade level crossings.