India, Sri Lanka to ink MoU to develop Palaly airport

India, Sri Lanka to ink MoU to develop Palaly airport in Jaffna

Representative image. Photo credit: Istock

India will ink an agreement with Sri Lanka to develop the Jaffna's Palaly airport in the Tamil-dominated Northern province, an official statement said on Thursday.

The decision comes a day after the Sri Lankan Cabinet approved a proposal for the MoU with India for the project, which would include terminal modification and electricity supplies among others.

"India has already agreed to provide Sri Lanka with a grant of 300 million Sri Lankan rupees (Rs 11.83 cr) for the development of the airport which started its international flights last year," the statement said.

Under the proposed work on the MoU, the facilities at the airport such as terminal modification, electricity supplies, utility services and transit facilities are to be improved.

India's Alliance Air became the first airline last November to operate flights to and from Palaly when they commenced a service to Chennai.

It was only this month that a civilian flight service was started to Palaly from capital Colombo which is meant as a feeder to Chennai-Jaffna flights.

The airport would add to the socio-economic welfare of the Tamil dominated Northern province, whose capital Jaffna was the base from where the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ran their military campaign for a separate Tamil homeland for nearly 30 years.

The campaign ended in 2009 after the Sri Lankan Army killed its supreme leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.