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Govt. deploys troops to control traffic

The government has deployed troops to help police control worsening traffic congestion in the capital, the Army said Monday (Feb 24).

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a retired army officer, ordered the military to assist traffic officers at the main entry and exit points to Colombo, a city which nearly a million people enter or leave daily, a spokesman said.

The military police will also lend support "in any other area where their services are required", Army spokesman Chandana Wickremasinghe added.

Traffic slows to a snail's space in Colombo during the morning and evening rush hours making it one of the slowest road systems in South Asia.

Recent studies have shown average speeds drop below 7kmh in the morning and the evening.

The capital does not have a mass transit system, forcing many to use their own transport that chokes the narrow streets.

The former government began work on the country's first light rail transit system last year at an estimated cost of US$1.5 billion. The Japanese-funded project is expected to be operational within about five years.

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