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Stalled Road Development Reactivated – Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardhana

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Transport, Highways and Mass Media Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardhana yesterday said that road development activities were stalled due to Covid 19 pandemic and economic recession.

“Due to the non-repayment of foreign loans, the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and other countries have suspended the granting of loans for the construction of bridges and highways”, he said.

The Minister was speaking at Kahathuduwa, at the inauguration of a mega project to reconstruct 1,500 km of roads around the country. The project began with the inauguration of reconstruction of School Lane in Weniwelkola Road, Kahathuduwa.

He said that President and Finance Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has allocated more than Rs 2,000 million under the 2024 Budget, for the reconstruction of 1,500 km of roads across the country, through a loan obtained by the Government of Sri Lanka.

“Regardless of the Party in power throughout history, the costs associated with the development of infrastructure like roads, electricity, water supply, irrigation, and power plants have always been covered through acquiring loans.

Minister Dr. Gunawardhana said that the JVP, left-wing political Parties and activists should explain the truth to the people that there is no significant income to run the government on a day-to-day basis.

“In 2022, the total income obtained through direct and indirect taxes is Rs 1,751 billion. Of that, Rs 1,265 billion or 72% has been spent on the payment of salaries and pensions of government employees. Rs 506 billion has been spent on subsidies such as Samurdhi and Aswasuma”, he said.

The Minister said that some ignorant people ask why the government levies so much tax. “The shortest possible answer is that the government levies taxes to pay salaries and pensions of public servants, to provide subsidies, to cover day-to-day expenses such as interest payments, etc.

The purpose of this project is to restore the road system destroyed due to landslides and floods. He said that less attention was paid on the reconstruction of roads due to Covid 19 pandemic and the economic recession in the country.

This mega project will be implemented under three stages. A stretch of 500 km of road will be reconstructed under the first phase, while the reconstruction work on another 500 km of road will begin on March 16 under the second phase.

Another 500 km stretch of road will be laid on carpet under the third phase, which will begin on April 2.

The post Stalled Road Development Reactivated – Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardhana appeared first on DailyNews.

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