Stalled road development projects will be restarted with ADB loans – Transport Minister

(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – The Minister of Transport, Highways and Mass Media, Dr. Bandula Gunawardena stated that all currently stalled road development projects will be restarted with the loan amount of 60 million dollars provided by the Asian Development Bank after successful debt restructuring.

The Minister made this announcement when he chaired the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Transport and Highways meeting at the Parliament Complex recently.

At the Ministerial Consultative Committee meeting the MPs were informed about the progress of the road development works being implemented under the Ministry of Transport and Highways and expected to be implemented in the future and the affairs of the Ministry were discussed.

Speaking at the meeting, the Minister said “We have taken a policy decision to inform the regional development committee of the relevant area if any road development work is carried out by the Road Development Authority in any part of the island.”

The district coordination committee should be informed about the matters related to the district. There may be some problematic situations regarding the projects implemented earlier, but all the officials have been instructed in writing to definitely follow these measures in the future.

It has also been made mandatory for an officer responsible for the relevant district and regional development committees to represent the institution. In particular, the public’s money is allocated for necessary activities through the budget of the Parliament. Therefore, to represent the public, the public representatives who are elected by the people should be responsible for the people. The ideas presented for that should be given priority.”

He said this year, Rs. 13 billion has been allocated by the Treasury for road development works, but only Rs. 1 billion has been received.

The Minister said 60 million dollars are to be received under Asian Development Bank loan assistance. But the mandatory condition to be met for that is the restructuring of the foreign debt. “Those officials have stated that they will not be able to give loans again until we declare how the loan will be repaid. The officials of the ministry made a great commitment to obtain even this small amount.”

“Explanations were made to the officials of the Asian Development Bank separately about the problems in the country’s road system. Finally, after the intervention of the President, they have agreed to give the amount of 60 million dollars. It is also scheduled to be given after completion of debt restructuring by December. Plans have been prepared for the projects to be restarted if the loan amount is received taking into account the suggestions made by all the MPs. But the condition of the lending institution is that they use this money only for the projects that they have checked and identified as the highest risk routes. For that, they have been living in Sri Lanka for more than two months, practically observed and selected the routes. The ministry or the officials cannot interfere in that way.”

Minister of State for Transport Lasantha Alagiyawanna, Minister of State for Highways Siripala Gamlath, Minister of State for Rural Roads Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, representatives of the Committee, Ministers, State Ministers and Opposition Members representing the Parliament, Ministry Secretary Mr. Priyantha Mayadunne and the Ministry of Transport and Highways Officials of all institutions attended this committee meeting.

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