Rasika Somarathna in Jaffna, Daily News, 17 January 2011
President Mahinda Rajapaksa while vesting with the people the 288-metre-long two-way Sangupiddy Bridge, Jaffna which links the shortest land based route between the South and the Jaffna peninsula yesterday, emphasized that the Government was fully focused in achieving equity in development.
|* Cost Rs 1,037 million
* Length – 288 metres
* Width – 7.4 metres
* Situated on the A-32 highway
* Connects Karaitivu with Pooneryn
* Reduced travel time from Colombo to Jaffna by about three hours
*Bridge completed in eight months
* Govt constructed bridge with soft loan from Britain
* Sangupiddy a two-way bridge
* Colombo -Jaffna distance reduced by 110 km
Addressing the public after commissioning the bridge the President said that the Government has not confined development activities to mere election promises. The bridge which is a dream come true to the people of the North is another step in the Government’s development thrust, he added.
Quoting Minister Douglas Devanada the President said that there had been 17 former foundation layings to construct the bridge, which had not been realized. “We always keep our promises. We said that we would usher a better country and a better future in which all could live in harmony. We have done that,” he added. He noted that previously the only land based route to reach Jaffna was the A-9 road and added that with the opening of the bridge now there was another shorter route through the A-32 road. He said that the people who had to make a six-hour journey to reach Jaffna from Mannar could now make it in three hours. President Rajapaksa said that this was another development initiative under the Northern development Vaddaikin Vasantham program. He noted that development which was lagging behind due to terrorism in the North was being fast tracked and added that the Government was fully focused in making Sri Lanka the wonder of Asia.
The bridge is seen by the people as a Thai Pongal gift to the people of Jaffna. The bridge is constructed at a cost of Rs 1,037 million. The United Kingdom has assisted with the funding. The Sangupiddy bridge on the A-32 highway will connect Karaitivu with Pooneryn and will reduce the travel time from Colombo to Jaffna by about three hours. It would lessen the journey by about 110 km.
The bridge was constructed by Sri Lankan engineers ahead of schedule. Ministers Basil Rajapaksa, Douglas Devananda, the Tri Forces’ Commanders, Northern Governor G A Chandrasiri, Security Forces’ personnel and the public were present.
Meanwhile, President Rajapaksa will be the Chief Guest at the National Thai Pongal Festival to be held in Jaffna today. While participating as the Chief Guest at the National Thai Pongal Festival, the President is scheduled to address a mass rally at the Duraiappah Stadium. Over 50,000 people are expected to attend this function.
The President is to present sets of Vertis, the traditional costumes of the Jaffna people to 100 Hindu Priests, 100 artists and farmers from Jaffna. President Rajapaksa is also scheduled to handover laptop computers to the students of the Jaffna University. A mega musical show with the participation of Sri Lankan and Tamil Nadu artistes, musicians and singers will be held in the evening. Several Ministers, Parliamentarians and political leaders from the Northern Province are scheduled to participate.