Work on Neluwa-Lankagama road to continue | Sunday Observer
President gives green light

Work on Neluwa-Lankagama road to continue

30 August, 2020
Ensuring basic needs of villagers: President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Neluwa-Lankagama road site where he listened to the grievances of the villagers with no road connecting their villages to main towns, directed the officials to continue the road construction work without harming the environment. He was accompanied by Highways Minister Johnston Fernando, Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera, Plantation Industries Minister Ramesh Pathirana, State Minister Mohan de Silva, MPs Sampath Athukorala, Nipuna Ranawaka, Chandima Weerakkody, Weerasumana Weersinghe and Southern Province Governor Willie Gamage Pic: Courtesy PMD

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday said that construction work on the Neluwa-Lankagama road that bordered the Sinharaja Forest Reserve should be continued and added that the people’s needs would be fulfilled without harming the environment. The objective of the President’s visit to the area was to seek the views of residents in the area on how to continue the project that was subjected to scrutiny by environmentalists who claimed that the road construction could cause damage to the forest reserve. Soon after the protests by environmentalists the President ordered that construction work be halted on the road.

During his inspection yesterday the President gave the green light to develop 18 kilometres of the Deniyaya road via Neluwa, Warukandeniya and Lankagama. He said that the 1,100 metre road through the Sinharaja Forest Reserve should be built under the supervision of government officials.

The road will be constructed by the Sri Lanka Army under the supervision of the Road Development Authority. It is expected to reduce the travelling time from Lankagama to Deniyaya from four hours to 45 minutes.

The President said that the road should not damage the reserve or the ecosystem.

The road will connect villages such as Lankagama, bordering the Sinharaja Forest Reserve to the main cities.

“The existing road is about 40 years old. We are now widening this road because the villagers do not have any other access to the closest towns,” Director General, Presidential Media Mohan Samaranayake said.

A media release from the Presidential media unit stated that Lankagama dates back to the days of King Walagamba and added that tea cultivation was the main livelihood of the people in the area. For over a century, villagers have been carrying tea leaves to Deniyaya and Neluwa on the road near the Sinharaja Forest Reserve where the roads were a major obstacle during their travel.

It was also decided to introduce a bus service daily from Neluwa to Deniyaya.