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Canal transport to ease traffic pile up

by Chanuka Mannapperuma

Canal transport, a novel project aimed at promoting tourism and as well as catering to the Colombo city's transport crisis will be a reality soon.

The project will be implemented under the supervision of Ministry of Travel, Tourism and Investment Promotion.

This canal transport project would facilitate travel between Battaramulla and Wellawatta, a distance of 7.2 Kilometres, along the main canal that runs through the Kotte marsh, Narahenpita, Havelock Town and up to Marine Drive at Wellawatta. The Project will comprise eight boat stations with due facilities, educational places, natural and eco-friendly entertainment places.

Fifty eight air-conditioned passenger Canadian boats will also be imported. Project Director Nimal Gonaduwa described this as a BOI project with an investment of Rs. 1.6 billion."It will be operative within a period of 8 - 12 months time."

The project promoter Infoconsult Inc of Canada has already spent approximately US$ 750,000 attending to all feasibility studies required and has now come up with a bankable report. "The investors are keen to bring this facility to its reality within the shortest possible time and are working towards it", he added. Further he said, this project would create around 500 direct and 2000 indirect employment opportunities.

Urban Development Authority study has estimated the cost of traffic congestion in the city at Rs. 10 billion per annum. "Therefore, this project would ensure more economic benefits too," he added.

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