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Several projects to ease traffic congestion

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The government had allocated funding, from the 2021 Budget for a number of initiatives to reduce traffic congestion in Colombo and its suburbs, Minister of Highways Johnston Fernando said recently at a meeting with Road Development Authority (RDA) officials.

“Funds have been allocated for flyovers, underground and overhead pedestrian crossings and bypasses to reduce congestion,” he added.

The Minister said already areas where flyovers and underground and overhead pedestrian crossings were necessary had been identified. Flyovers would be built at Kohuwala, Baladaksha Mawatha, Uttarananda Road and Justice Akbar Mawatha.

“Flyovers are also to be built at Muttettugala, Yangalmodara, Alawwa and Mahawa in the Kurunegala district and Getambe in the Kandy District,” the Minister said.

Minister Fernando said that one of the main reasons for traffic congestion in urban centres was the lack of designated pedestrian crossings. Underground and overhead pedestrian crossings needed to be built to reduce congestion as well as to improve the safety of the pedestrians.

“Underground and overhead pedestrian crossings are to be built near Sri Lanka Land Development Corporation, Rajagiriya, SLIT, President’s College, Rajagiriya, Prince and Princess of Wales Colleges, Moratuwa, and castle Hospital, Colombo. Underground pedestrian crossings are to be built in Kottawa and Ratnapura too. Bypass roads will be built at Ratnapura, Warakapola and Ragama. We will also develop Borupona Road, from Hospital Road, Kimbulawala to Thorana Road, Pannipitiya. Through this road, people can easily reach Ratmalana airport and Galle Road,” Minister Fernando said.

Fernando also said an alternative road would be built connecting Chandrika Kumaratunga road and Thalahena to reduce traffic in Malabe town. An alternate road connecting Chandrika Kumaratunga road and Aturugiriya too will be developed.

 

 



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Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’

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By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam

The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.

Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.

A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.

The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.

According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.

The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.

DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.

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PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners

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By Norman Palihawadane

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.

Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.

The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”

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Thilo Hoffman remembered

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A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.

Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.

The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.

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