Boost for public transport system
Eastern Resurgence programme to accelerate infrastructure
development, restore public utilities and community services in
the liberated Province has received yet another boost with the
establishment of a fully operational public transport system
covering all townships and villages in the East.
According to a news item in our inside pages on Thursday,
several bridges in the region destroyed by the LTTE to block
transport are now under reconstruction under the Nation Building
It is hoped that this bridge building would extend to the
hearts and minds of the communities whose relationships had been
fractured over the years due to man-made barriers.
In addition, all road development activities have begun in
the region and the Transport Ministry is to operate a direct bus
service from Colombo to Vakarai.
Road Passenger Transport Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna has
also taken steps to augment the fleet of buses in the region and
is to deploy 269 buses in the East by the end of 2008 up from
the current fleet of 220 buses.
This is in addition to the progress in all other sectors that
had suffered during the period of LTTE domination. Transport no
doubt is an essential requirement in community life especially
for a population which had been under virtual seige all these
It is hoped that the new bus services and road development
activities in the region would result in more mobility of the
people out of their restricted existence and freedom of travel
which was a nightmare not many moons ago.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa no doubt is anxious to provide
all the facilities and creature comforts enjoyed by the people
in rest of the country to the liberated Eastern population
without undue delay, a point he underscores at almost all public
rallies and State events.
This he reiterated during his Independence Day speech too
where he emphasised the need to empathise with our Northern
brethren who had undergone much suffering and privations over
The President is aware that only a complete overhaul of the
lifestyles and the living standards of these people would
transform them from their seige mentality and make them
integrate with the rest of the country and this he has
undertaken to do by providing them with all the amenities and
facilities enjoyed by the people in the South, which had been
deprived them of all these years.
This no doubt would change their outlook and ingrained
attitudes and would go a long way in assuaging the hurt feelings
and suspicion implanted in them over a long period.
Hence the urgency of the President to speed up the
development work in the region so that the fruits of development
could be enjoyed by this segment of the population who had known
nothing but sorrow and oppression under the jackboot of the LTTE
The people of the East may not even be aware of the strides
of progress in the world outside their orbit to which they were
confined by the LTTE and it is incumbent on the Government to
ensure that these hapless souls catch up on what they have
missed all these years and provide them with all the necessary
wherewithal so that they would successfully integrate with the
rest of the polity and be part and parcel of a single community
enjoying equal rights and privileges.
While improving transport, road facilities and other
amenities to the East, social interaction programmes between
North and South are also needed as means of reinforcing the
bridge building process that is at the heart of the President’s
The upcoming Local Government elections it is hoped would
signal a renaissance of the Eastern population who will be
provided an opportunity for the first time in decades to elect
their own representatives and have a direct hand in the affairs
affecting their own interests.
This would also auger well for the triumph of democracy that
was stifled all these years and for the emergence of an
independent and pro-active community that would spell a
harbinger for national unity and integrity.