Critical Examination - Railway line between Srilanka and India

Critical Examination - Railway line between Srilanka and India

Question - PM Narendra Modi is on a critical mission called Mission Jai Hind Mahasagar at the moment. Sri Lanka is a major constituent of this mission. Critically examine the railway line that existed between Sri Lanka (Talaimannar) and India (Dhanushkodi) that was operational till 1966.

Connecting India to Sri Lanka has acquired immense significance in light of the Jai Hind Mahasagar Yatra. The Talaimannar-Dhanushkodi link operational till the 1960s was instrumental in connecting the two nations

About the Link Between Talaimannar and Dhanushkodi

• Possibility of connecting India and Sri Lanka was explored since the second half of the 19th century

• Momentum for the same was picked up in the 1890s and numerous schemes were suggested

• In 1907, Sir Henry Kimber urged the creation of a 67 mile branch railway track from Madawachiya on its main line to Talaimannar on Mannar Island to the Pamban Pass by a bridge to Rameswaram island and from there to Dhanushkodi in India.

• The 2 countries were only 21 miles apart across the strait and railway was constructed on sand bank called Adam’s Bridge

• A ferry service between the two nations was later established

• This line was a connection between India and Sri Lanka through the Pamban Pass.

• Starting from Mandayam, the railway extension followed for 2 miles across the narrow, sandy promontory across the sea on a viaduct about 1 and 1/4th miles long

• The Indo-Ceylon connection finished in 1914 was operational till 1966

Critical Importance of Railway Line

• It provided transportation and betterment of bilateral relations between the two nations

• The cultural significance of this link was also important as the railway line was a lifeline between Tamils in South India and Sri Lanka

• Trade and commerce also improved between the two nations on account of this.

• The Hind Mahasagar Yatra is giving impetus to better relations between the two nations

• Re-establishment of the rail link between Dhanushkodi and Talaimannar will work towards making the two nations work in tandem towards economic growth and development

• South Indian Railway and the Southern Railway operated the rail route when tragedy overtook them in 1964

• A 6 coach Pamban Dhanushkodi Passenger train met with an accident through a 20 foot wave and rail lines ceased to operate since then

• Technology has advanced considerably since then and rail lines between the two nations would be a game changer in the bilateral ties between them.

Facts and Stats

- In 1913, the SIR or South Indian Railway created a detailed survey of constructing a causeway from Dhanushkodi to Talaimannar length of 20.05 miles from which 7.19 miles are on dry land of slow banks and 12.86 miles in water

- The work regarding the causeway and the two rail terminal points was estimated at INR 111 lakh

- On February 24, 1914, the Indo-Ceylon rail link was opened for public usage

- December 25, 1964: Rail accident on the link led to closing of rail services between the two nations
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