17 March 2012

France's AFD Funds Largest Infrastructure Project in Sri Lanka's Eastern Province & Trincomalee

16th March 2012, www.ft.lk

Cabinet has approved a Rs.11.2 billion infrastructure project funded by France for the former war-torn Eastern Province, a Minister said yesterday.

Acting Cabinet Spokesman Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana told the media that the project would fund much-needed infrastructure for the town of Trincomalee in the Eastern Province. The money would also be used to upgrade 100km of highway, build 41km of provincial roads and repair five main bridges.

The Batticaloa-Tirikkondiadimadu-Trincomalee Road (A15) composed of 99 km and the Allai-Kantale Road (B10) spanning 41 km will be the National Highways while Provincial Roads will be the stretch from Mavadichchenai to Kaddaiparichchan (12km). The major bridges are Ralkuli, Upparu, Gangei, Kayenkerni and Verugal, the Cabinet statement noted.

This is the first large-scale infrastructure project funded by Agence Francaise de Developpment of France and was presented to the Cabinet by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The project is expected to boost tourism in the area as well, which will benefit the economy as the Government expects German tourist arrivals to increase by 15%-20% after the success of the German tourism fair in Berlin.

“We will prove that no other country has invested so much money in such a short space of time in a former conflict zone. We are giving projects in the north and east precedence over those in the south,” he said, referring to the US-backed resolution presented at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Abeywardana insisted that the Government was confident of defeating the motion and proving to the world that Sri Lanka had achieved peace.

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