I’m not sure if I will make myself unpopular by writing my third article at a stretch (1. Government Hospitals in Sri Lanka 2. A Cleaner Colombo) giving credit to the government, if not praising it. I have to write what I see. There are hundreds of people who write against the government and I don’t think it is wrong to write about the good initiatives of a government too.
Infrastructure development is the key to the development of a nation. Road development, telecommunication, airports and seaports are the main areas that need attention.
The present government paid attention to road development even during the worst period of war against the LTTE. Expressways, highways, lengthy ‘A’ type roads and flyovers were developed during this period and that didn’t give much mileage to the government as the developments were overshadowed by the destructions of the war. But the road projects went on despite a fragile war economy.
Roadwork was accelerated after the war as the entire country was open for such developmental work. Accessibility to the Northern and the Eastern parts of the country was essential. Ample foreign aids also came from funding agencies. Carpeted roads to all destinations were the result.
I am yet to be convinced about short length concrete roads built in villages under Maga Neguma by Pradesheeya Sabhas. They lay concrete few miles of the road and let the rest of the road to be at it was. I don’t get the logic. Rather than laying concrete a mile or two, they could at least renovate the whole road by laying gravel. I think the concrete work was given to satisfy the local level politicians rather than the villagers. Less than one mile road opposite my ancestral home in Mahawilachchiya also was also tar matted but it was done so poorly that it didn’t last 6 months. The contractor didn’t get even his retention money. I am not sure if this is the status of other Maga Neguma roads too.
Southern Express Way, Airport Express Way, and many highways are either complete or on the verge of completion. You can go to Road Development Authority website http://www.rda.gov.lk/ see what other roads are being done.
I don’t know if there is corruption involved in the road development projects. I will be surprised if there isn’t. But we can’t complain that the roads are badly built either. We will have to wait for few more years to see if the new roads successfully pass the guaranteed period.