Monday, October 29, 2007

peace bridge


The Japanese funded peace bridge was formally opened on Poya day thursday the 25th of October in Manampitiya crossing the Mahaweli. Previously the road and rail bridge was shared for the past 80 plus years. I was most disappointed in the bridge which I drove over on friday 26th and 6 am. It is only two lanes both ways and the road that is being constructed is a 4 lane highway all the way to Batticaloa.I am appalled that 1,500 Million rupees was spent on this.Even if the span was 300 feet the coverage over the river is 200 and I am sure a four lane bridge would not have cost more. I am sure someone or many ones had a hand in their pockets on this one. It is a crying shame.

The other scene I was privy to was the whole sale slaughter of the Mahaweli for its sand just a few hundred yards away from the bridge. Truck loads of sand being carried away to the building sites in Colombo and a cut or the contract being in the palm of an influential politician in the land. The environmentalists probably have no access to see the extent of the damage and so there is no comment on that.

The third observation is that there are 100 lorry loads or more of sand being trucked at great expense to Colombo when the railway line is almost at the same point the lorries are being loaded. It is easier to load the rail cars and take the sand that way with much less energy cost and more money to the government and not the hands of the businessmen who use millions of litres of fuel in hauling at greater environmental cost. Why is something so basic not even being talked of in this country with supposedly intelligent people!!!! Does it fall to a farmer to see through this?

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