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Southern expressway opened

E01 a monument to Lanka’s post war recovery - MR

Southern expressway opened
Work on Jaffna-Colombo highway shortly


By Shamindra Ferdinando

President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday declared that the rapid development of the road network in the post-war era was part of his government’s strategy to counter those still pursuing a separatist agenda.

President Rajapaksa assured that the existing A9 road to Jaffna would be transformed into a highway to facilitate overland movement to and from the Jaffna peninsula. The government was in the process of finalizing the Colombo-Jaffna highway project, the President said.

Addressing a gathering at Karandeniya, after commissioning the newly-built southern expresswa (E01) which connects Kottawa with Galle, President recalled how a section of the international community and their local agents had categorized Sri Lanka as a failed State.

The government had proved them wrong, President Rajapaksa said. The rapid post-war recovery and development progress had demonstrated Sri Lanka’s capabilities and exposed its detractors.

Commenting on the challenges faced by the country, the President said that the government was striving to overcome threats posed by racism, provincial level conflicts and separatism.

The President said that the southern highway was an important milestone in Sri Lanka’s history.

Recalling the attacks the LTTE used to mount during the last week of November before the conclusion of war in May 2009, President Rajapaksa said that parents refrained from sending children to schools. He asked the audience whether anyone could remember the name of the event the LTTE celebrated towards the end of November. Many shouted, ‘Mahavir Day’. President refrained from mentioning the event.

President Rajapaksa said that the government of yore had gone to the extent of broadcasting the LTTE’s so-called policy speech to the entire world in November. But, today the people rejoiced at the opening of new highway, he said.

The President said time was when the LTTE had been allowed to operate as it pleased. The President said: "Let me tell you an incident during my tenure as the Prime Minister. As I also handled the road development, I was requested to build a road to the Madhu Church. I took action to construct a 40-foot-wide road. Having invited me to the opening ceremony, the Bishop of Mannar told me that though I could attend the function, they had to take permission from the LTTE. I was also told that my armed bodyguards couldn’t accompany me. I neither obtained permission from the terrorists nor attended the ceremony. I told myself that I would visit Madhu one day without begging for anyone’s permission."

The 57 Division captured Madhu in late April 2008—the first major success on the Vanni front since the commencement of the government’s military campaign in Sept. 2007.

President said that whatever Sri Lanka’s critics said that his government had realized many post-independence dreams of the Sri Lankans. The new highway, coupled with a range of development projects now taking place in the Southern Province would spearhead Sri Lanka’s development, he said. The new port at Hambantota and the proposed Mattala international airport would change the life of the Southerners, the President said, adding that the government was going ahead with its plans to develop the provinces as well as the urban centres.

The President said that the rapid expansion of the road network and ongoing mega development projects would help his government tackle unemployment.


Posted on Monday, November 28, 2011 @ 03:12:40 LKT


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