Saudi Fund for Development, Sri Lanka sign 2 loan agreements

Saudi Fund For Development (SFD) Adviser Abdullah Al-Shedokhi, left, and R.H.S Samaratunga, secretary to the treasury in Sri Lanka, right, sign the agreements in the presence of Sri Lankan Ambassador Azmi Thassim, standing second right. (AN photo)
Updated 07 April 2017
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Saudi Fund for Development, Sri Lanka sign 2 loan agreements

RIYADH: The Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) signed two loan agreements with Sri Lanka to assist the island nation in two projects.
SFD Adviser Abdullah Al-Shedokhi and R.H.S Samaratunga, secretary to the treasury of Sri Lanka, signed the SR263 million agreement for the Mahaweli Left Bank Basin Development and the Wayamba University/Township Development Project.
Mahaweli Left Bank Lower Basin Development Project is a proposal made by Vijith Vijayamuni Zoysa, minister of irrigation and water resources management, at an estimated cost of $430 million, with the objective of providing irrigated water during two seasons for 4,000 acres of land to include Kinniya and Kantale Trincomalee and the Polonnaruwa districts.
Wayamba University of Sri Lanka (WUSL), which is located at Kuliyapitya and Makandura with easy access from Colombo, Kurunegala, and Kandy, is a modern learning and research institution in Sri Lanka.
According to Sri Lankan Ambassador Azmi Thassim, the SFD has been instrumental in financing several projects in the island. The construction of a bridge, which links the Eastern town of Trincomalee with Kinniya, a Muslim village, is beneficial to some 100,000 people living in Kinniya. The residents were using ferry as their mode of transport to come to Trincomalee, the northeastern capital of the island. The Trincomalee-Batticaloa highway was also widened with the same funds allocated under the agreement.
Earlier, Sri Lanka government signed two loan agreements with SFD to obtain partial financing for the $140 million rehabilitation of the A5 Road corridor from Badulla to Chenkaladi.
The A5 corridor is one of the major highways linking parts of the Central Province to Eastern Province geopolitical zones of the country, which carries the bulk of the traffic between Batticaloa and Peradeniya via Badulla.
Improvements to A5 road corridor from Badulla to Chenkaladi would enhance access to markets and social infrastructure such as schools and hospitals and integrate isolated segments of the rural population into the overall economy, the Finance Ministry said in a short statement on Friday.


Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

Masjid Quba in Madinah is a favorite destination for Hajj pilgrims, according to tour guides. Below: The Cave of Hira, Al-Baqi’ cemetery and the Prophet’s Chamber allow visitors to step back in time. (Getty Images)
Updated 34 min 37 sec ago
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Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

  • A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities
  • Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies

RIYADH: Hajj is one of the biggest dreams of every Muslim’s life, and pilgrims looking forward to their stay in Makkah and Madinah say a bucket list is the best way to plan the trip. 

Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies. Standing in the places of the Holy Prophet transports them back to the past as if they lived those incredible moments. 

A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities.

Sayed Shafei, an operation manager for City Sightseeing, a tour company in Madinah and worldwide, told Arab News: “We offer a special tour with a multilingual tour guide presented in eight languages. We also offer 24-hour tickets. We have scheduled tourism trips starting from the Prophet’s Mosque to 12 destinations every 30 minutes. The whole trip lasts for 14 hours a day.” 

Asked about the most popular requests, Shafei said: “Our customers always ask to visit Masjid Quba, the Sayed Al-Shuhada Mosque in Uhud, which is considered a vital historic landmark of Madinah, and Al-Qiblatain Mosque.” 

Most of the group’s customers are from East Asia, but many also visit from Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE, Indonesia, Malaysia, the US and Europe.

Munirah Al-Jebreen, an English instructor at Princess Noura University who will perform Hajj this year, told Arab News her bucket list began with an online search. 

“I found a travel guide on Google that has all the best sites in Madinah and Makkah, so I decided to visit Uthman ibn Affan’s Farm and Well in Madinah, the Holy Qur’an exhibition, and one of the most important places I want to visit is the grave of the Holy Prophet,” she said.

The area between the Prophet’s Chamber, which holds his grave, and the Mimbar is known as the Rawdah, which is actually the Garden of Paradise. It is presently distinguished by a green carpet.

Al-Jebreen also listed some of her planned tour destinations in Makkah, including the Cave of Hira, where the Holy Prophet meditated frequently during the first 40 years of his life and the site of the first revelation. 

She will also visit Bilal Mosque and Mount Abu Qubais and, finally, will try Al-Garmushi, one of the famous traditional restaurants in Makkah.