Billions spent on a controversial expressway while people cross rivers over tree trunks

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The construction of the Central Expressway has sparked more protests across Sri Lanka.

Another one of such protests took place today, September 27. Their cry? – the same one made by many more.

The initial plan of the Central Expressway said it was to be built on pillars, which would not take up, or go through people’s land.However, the plans have changed and parts of the expressway are now being built at ground level.

Protesting locals of Henamulla obstructed a supply route from Dambokka to Gettuwaana on the Central Expressway on the night of  September 26.

These people protest on a 8.5 kilometre stretch of road which was said to be constructed on pillars. The section comes under the project’s  second phase.

The protests have resulted in the suspension of work carried out in that particular section of road.

The people’s voices

“… The construction must be done in an environment-friendly manner. A fair compensation must be given to the locals. There are many who were denied compensation …”

“… This road will be blocked using boulders until a proper solution is given. This is our last resort …”

If you are beginning to wonder, what could possibly happen if expressways are constructed by filling land, and without obtaining the necessary Environment Impact Assessment reports, please do refer to the following images;

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Expressway that complicate life or a Bridge to save lives?

Meanwhile, people living in several villages in Batticaloa have to cross a river over a tree trunk.

Why? – Sri Lanka is spending billions on expressways which are being constructed amidst large controversies. So why are people crossing rivers over tree trunks?

Well, it seems that authorities have failed to construct a proper bridge for these villagers for several years now.

The villages in question are;

  • Akurana
  • Miniminiweli
  • Uththuchenai
  • Wadamunei

The villagers of the villages mentioned above, have to cross a river to reach the Ottumawadi village over on the other side. The trunk of a tree has been laid across the river for commuters to travel on.

Is there any other way? – well there is, but if the people opt for that, they will have to travel well over 40 kilometers to reach their destination.

If this bridge is constructed, the villagers will not only be safe, their journey will also be limited to just 15 kilometers, as opposed to the 40.

The area residents state that their numerous pleas have fallen on deaf ears as the authorities have still been unable to construct a proper bridge across the river.

Culled from here

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