The Government of Japan yesterday agreed to provide a grant of Japanese Yen 1,206 million (approximately Rs. 1,736 million) for the construction of Manmunai bridge across the Batticaloa lagoon.
Finance Ministry said at present, ferries are used for transportation across the Western and Eastern shore of the Batticaloa lagoon and the ferries have a limited capacity for transportation per journey. It is therefore expected to construct a bridge with a span of 210 metres in length and 9.8 metres wide with a causeway to reduce the present travel time of 30 minutes to just one minute. It is also hoped that this will reduce the interruption of traffic during floods from the present two weeks to one or two days only.
The construction of the new bridge will reduce the distance between the lagoon from 32 km to 300 metres and the Manmunai Western shore to Batticaloa town from 27 km to 15 km. and also improve the access to emergency medical services and educational services for the residents. Accordingly, it is expected that the construction of the bridge will improve the transportation capacity across the lagoon and will provide transportation facilities to around 90,000 and will also indirectly benefit over 10,000 persons.
The Exchange of Notes pertaining to the above Grant took place yesterday, at the Ministry of Finance and Planning. Kunio Takahashi, Ambassador of Japan in Sri Lanka signed on behalf of the Government of Japan while Dr. P. B. Jayasundera, Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Planning signed on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka. A Grant Agreement was also signed between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) with Dr. P. B. Jayasundera, Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Planning representing the Government of Sri Lanka and Akira Shimura, Senior Representative of JICA Sri Lanka Office on behalf of JICA.