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* President emphasizes need of a national policy on highways
Thu, Sep 14, 2017, 07:16 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Sept 14, Colombo: President Maithripala Sirisena emphasized the need of a national highways policy which does not change from time to time when the construction of expressways being carried out.

The President made these remarks at the progress review meeting of the Road Development Authority at the President's Office today (14).

President Sirisena also inquired regarding ongoing construction works of the expressways, renovation works of roads and the construction of new roads as well as their financial situation.

During the meeting the Chairman of the Road Development Authority stated that the construction of the section from Meerigama to Kurunegala and the section from Kadawatha to Meerigama will be completed by September, 2019, and the 50 percent of the construction work of the section from Kadawatha to Kerawalapitiya will be completed by the end of this year.

The President also questioned the officials in detail about the allegations leveled by the media regarding the misdeeds occurred when carrying out the construction works of the Southern Expressway and the Central Expressway projects, and instructed the officials of the Road Development Authority to correct the accusations leveled against them by conducting a press conference or providing accurate information to the media in a transparent manner.

At present, the plan for the Northern Expressway has been formulated under the road development projects in the Northern and Eastern Provinces and the Government of India has expressed its consent to provide loans for this project.

The President also instructed the officials to expeditiously prepare a plan to construct a highway or a high standard road that would be easily accessible from East to Colombo.

President Sirisena also inquired about the ways the funds received for road development and flyover projects and instructed the officials to expedite the payment of compensation for those who lost their lands due to expressway construction.

The President also highlighted the importance of preparing plans for the construction of expressways, giving prominent attention to minimizing the pressure on the public and to implement projects which are suitable for the country's economy as well as reducing environmental damage.

The President inquired about the progress of road development activities carried out under the "Pibidemu Polonnaruwa (Awakening of Polonnaruwa)" District Development Project and the progress of the construction works of Colombo, Kadawatha and Nittambuwa road. Paying attention regarding the delay in carrying out these activities, the President instructed the officials to resolve these issues immediately.

President Sirisena said that road development is of vital importance in the development of rural economy and he also explained the importance of construction of non-expressway roads when uplifting the lives of the rural people.

The construction works of the Ganemulla, Polgahawela and Rajagiriya flyovers under the Spanish flyover project is in its final phase.

Road development activities are being carried out in Kottawa and Godagama areas under loan facilities from Saudi Arabia and OPEC.

The Ministry of Highways is planning to carry on elevated roads to enter the port under the Asian Development Bank loan facility.

Minister Lakshman Kiriella, State Minister Dilan Perera, Secretary to the President Austin Fernando, Secretary to the Ministry of Higher Education and Highways, the Chairman of the Road Development Authority and other officials participated on this meeting.


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