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Under Stage I:

Govt to spend Rs. 1 billion on Northern roads

The Sri Lanka Highways Ministry will spend one billion rupees this year to implement Stage I of the proposed strategy for the National Road Development Program in the Northern province, with the assistance of the security forces, said Director, Planning, Road Development Authority, H.M.K.G.G. Bandara. He was speaking on ‘Road Transport Requirement for the North and East’ at a seminar on ‘Reawakening of the North and the East’ at the Galadari Hotel recently.

He said that all essential road sections, approach roads to villages, health facilities, market places, postal communication and administrative centres will be passable as a temporary measure during stage one.

Under stage two it will be further developed and would rehabilitate all important road links within the province and connect other provinces which would need USD 750 million which includes developing of 1,216 km of identified roads are handled in 13 packages each of a different value with foreign financial assistance, he said.

The proposed Highway Development Program will be complemented with an overall development agenda and National Road Master Plan which is now being implemented in the rest of the country.

Bandara said that the objectives of the program are to facilitate quick resettlement of IDP’s and provide access to set up social, humanitarian, and economic centres to the main towns, improve connectivity between production centres and market places, increase mobility while linking other provinces to open backward areas for development and reduce structural poverty, empower the poor and strengthen good governance.

However, the main issues have been inadequate maintenance of roads in the past three decades due to the conflict, poor condition of roads and high road user cost, inadequate road safety due to the absence of basic road furniture, insufficient funds for restoration of roads and engineering staff to serve in the Northern province and insufficient supply of aggregate for road construction.

He said that the key tasks ahead for the road sector is to provide access roads by connecting villages and towns to social welfare centres, input and output markets and the provinces.

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