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Won’t stop development due to COVID-19 – PM

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Minister of Highways Johnston Fernando briefing the PM on the proposed Ruwanpura Expressway.

Sri Lanka has commenced construction of the country’s seventh expressway at a time when the world is reeling from COVID-19, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday at the opening ceremony of the Ruwanpura Expressway.

Sri Lanka had begun work on its first highway, the Southern Expressway, in 2006 while the war was raging, he added.

“There are difficulties but we have not forgotten that the development of the nation too is important. I believe that good roads are an indicator of a country’s development,” he said.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa said that the government could not shut down the country because of the pandemic. The economic wellbeing of citizens was as important as fighting the virus, he said. If people followed the health guidelines, the pandemic could easily be brought under control, he said.

Commenting on the highway, Minister of Highways, Johnston Fernando said that the government will not stop development projects despite the obstacles created by the pandemic. He added that the implementation of the project is a manifestation of the government’s commitment to realize the visions and policies of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour in line with plans for sustainable development.

“This highway to Ratnapura is important for the entire country. The prime Minister frequently asks me to expedite the Central Expressway too. We are also working on that.”

The inauguration ceremony of the first phase of the Expressway from Kahatuduwa to Ingiriya of the Ruwanpura Expressway was held yesterday. The event was held with the participation of a limited number of people as per the health regulations in place in view of the pandemic. Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and others participated in the ceremony via new technology from Temple Trees.

The proposed Ruwanpura Expressway from Kahatuduwa to Pelmadulla via Ratnapura connects the Western Province with the Sabaragamuwa Province. The project from Kahatuduwa to Ratnapura to Pelmadulla (73.9 km) has been divided into three phases for implementation purposes. Phase I extends from Kahathuduwa to Ingiriya (24.3 km), Phase II from Ingiriya to Ratnapura (26.2 km), and Phase III from Ratnapura to Pelmadulla (21.4 km). The project has first been envisaged by the Mahinda Chinthana manifesto in 2014. Maga Engineering Company has been selected as the construction contractor of the project at a cost of Rs 54.70 billion.

The Ruwanpura Expressway is envisaged to provide a boost for the economic development of the country by help promoting efficiency and it is expected to ease the congestion on Panadura-Ratnapura (A08) and Colombo-Wellawaya-Batticaloa (A-04) routes. People in districts of Colombo, Kalutara, Ratnapura, Badulla, Nuwara Eliya, Moneragala and Hambantota would be directly benefited by the new expressway which provide them with opportunity to transport their produce including tea, apparel, minor export crops and a boom to the gem industry with ease of travelling to find markets, decrease in congestion, less burning of fuel and saving on time, the Minister said.



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Employees’ Trust Fund Act No. 46 of 1980 to be amended

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The Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal presented by the Hon. President in his capacity as the Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policies to instruct the legal draftsman to prepare a bill to amend the Employees’ Trust Provident Fund Act No. 46 of 1980 enabling to provide health insurance similar to Agrahara health insurance to private sector employees.

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Cabinet nod for MOU between the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Republic of Maldives on Cultural Cooperation

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The Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal presented by the Minister of Buddha Sasana, Religious and Cultural affairs to sign a cultural cooperation agreement between the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Maldives. (The draft agreement has received the clearance of the Attorney General and the approval of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

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Outgoing Bulgarian Ambassador calls on the President

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(pic PMD)

Mrs. Eleonora Dimitrova, Bulgaria’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka, met President Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Presidential Secretariat on Monday (06), before departing for her home country upon completing her tenure in Sri Lanka.

 

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