Rs. 20b for ‘Ran Mawatha’ to develop roads | Sunday Observer

Rs. 20b for ‘Ran Mawatha’ to develop roads

All major and rural roads will be developed this year with the allocation of Rs. 20,000 million under the ‘Ran Mawatha’ road development program to improve transportation and access to cities minimising the loss of man-hours and waste of fuel, said Minister of Highways and Road Development and Petroleum Resources Development, Kabir Hashim.

The Minister was addressing the media on the progress of the ‘Ran Mawatha’ road development program at the ministry in Battaramulla last week.

He said 1,970 kilometres of road covering every electorate in the country will be developed to facilitate transportation, a key sector of the economy.

The program encompasses laying of concrete blocks, carpeting public transportation routes, developing access roads to religious places and construction of 200 rural bridges.

The road development program aims at reducing the time lost on roads due to poor accessibility resulting in loss of valuable man hours and schoolchildren having to cross dilapidated bridges and broken and puddle-filled roads to get to school.

It is estimated that around Rs. 1 billion a day, amounting to around Rs. 397 billion a year is wasted on fuel from vehicles that come to Colombo each day.

Around 300,000 vehicles come to Colombo a day of which 250,000 are private vehicles. Around 8 million people have vehicles and around 100,000 people visit Colombo daily.

Under the Ran Mawatha program the Central Express Highway, the Outer Circular Highway, the Kelania bridge renovation, two flyovers in Colombo and one in Gatambe Kandy will be constructed.

According to the minister, Rs. 80 billion will be allocated to develop rural roads including estates roads, roads in the North and the East and all access roads to religious places. Around Rs. 2,950 million has been allocated to develop rods in the North and the East.

State Minister of Highways and Road Development, Ranjan Ramanayake said tower based highways will be constructed linking all major cities causing no harm to waterways, natural resources and residents.

“Unlike the previous regime that caused enormous difficulties to residents and damaged natural resources for which compensation has to be paid, the present government has undertaken to build roads and highways with no adverse effects on natural resources and the livelihood of people,” the State Minister said.The state officials at the briefing said that around Rs. 3,500 million in compensation has to be paid to people who lost their homes under the previous government’s road development programs.

‘Unlike the previous regime we have not used Chinese labour for the road development projects. We have used fully local labour in our road projects,” Ramanayake said.

However, when asked by journalists about the timing of the project, Minister Hashim said the road development program may be completed before election or after and whichever way the objective is to develop the road network to accelerate economic growth in the country.

“We are not targeting elections. Road development commenced as soon as we came to power in 2015. The delay was due to the issues we had to grapple with such as the repayment of debt of money borrowed by the by the former government,” the minister said. - LF

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