Neluwa-Lankagama road development | Road across Sinharaja temporarily halted

  • Suspended pending assessment report

By Sarah Hannan

Secretary to the Ministry of Highways R.W.R. Pemasiri yesterday (19) said the rural road development project that was to take place for a stretch of 18 km from Neluwa to Lankagama has been temporarily halted until an assessment is carried out by the Central Environmental Authority (CEA).

“The road in question was scheduled to be developed after considering the continuous requests put forth by the residents of Lankagama. Contrary to what was speculated on social media, this road is in no way a highway or an expressway built through the Sinharaja Forest Reserve.

“However, we have now halted the road development work following the directives of the President, which was communicated through to the Minister of Wildlife and Forest Conservation on Tuesday (18),” Pemasiri told The Morning.

Referring to false social media reports regarding the Neluwa-Lankagama road development project implemented by the Ministry of Highways, the Ministry confirmed that no development work would be carried out in the area buffer zone of 1.1 km, which is environmentally sensitive.

Meanwhile, according to the Army Media Unit, the 12 Field Engineer Regiment of the Sri Lanka Army Engineer Brigade deployed a group of 10 soldiers with required machinery and vehicles to Neluwa on 31 July, under the command of their Troop Commander of the 124 Plant Squadron Captain P.A.D.W.W. Wickramasinghe.

With the help of the Ministry of Highways, the regiment undertook the constructions of the Neluwa-Lankagama road with a distance of approximately 7 km.

The task was carried out under the supervision and guideline of the Commander of the Army, the Commander of the Engineer Brigade, and the Commanding Officer of the unit, the Army Media Unit confirmed.