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Dutch aid to construct bridges in rural villages

Cash strapped Sri Lanka government is receiving assistance from the Netherlands to implement its ambitious rural infrastructure development programme of building roads and bridges in remote villages. The government has allocated additional LKR 20, 000 million to commence construction on rural roads under the 100,000 km programme and LKR 7, 000 million to build 10,000 rural bridges connecting the villages to the external environment.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has assigned officials to complete the project for the construction of 100,000 km of rural roads and connect them with the main road network by 2024.

The President stated that new bridges will be built replacing hanging, wooden plank and small bridges. The construction of 8000 km of roads has commenced and 400km of it has already been completed in the last few months.

In the wake of the government’s new rural bridges programme, the Finance Ministry has received a pledge from the Rabobank of Netherlands to provide 52.1 million euro financial assistance to construct approximately 250 steel bridges island wide especially in the rural areas.

Finance and Economic Affairs Ministry Secretary, S. R. Attygalle has reportedly signed this Credit Facility Agreement at the Ministry of Finance.

The Sri Lankan Government has accorded high priority for connectivity improvement within the country, with a view to providing full benefits to the remote villages from mainstream development activities in the country, the Ministry has stated.

Accordingly, the Government is planning to construct 10,000 bridges in rural areas to establish connectivity for transportation.

A large number of lagging villages will be connected with transport facilities through this project, which will in turn facilitate easy access to market, education and healthcare facilities to villagers.

The announcement of the agreement signed between Sri Lanka’s Finance Ministry and the Rabobank of the Netherlands for a project to construct steel bridges indicates the opening up of a business opportunity in the country’s ongoing development programme.

The Sri Lankan government is engaged in the development of the rural road network and connectivity. Hence, there are many projects in the roads and highways sector in Sri Lanka with most programmes having secured foreign funding lines.

Therefore, foreign businesses could seriously explore business opportunities in Sri Lanka’s roads and highways sector.

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