Missed Connections

July 20, 2009 (LBO) – Better transport infrastructure and services linking northern Sri Lanka with the south would help to bridge the ethnic divide after the end of the war, transport experts said. Had such links existed before the conflict began 30 years ago, they might have helped prevent the war by Tamil Tigers for a separate state in the island’s north and east, they said.

Investment to rapidly rebuild transport infrastructure linking the north and east with the rest of the country is critical to reviving the region’s economy, said Willie Mendis, town planning expert and former head of the Moratuwa University.

A combination of infrastructure such as roads, railways and broadband telecommnications, is important, he told a seminar on the transport needs of the region organised by the Chamber of Construction Industry.

The island’s government and business community have begun to look for ways to revive economic growth in the north-east and rebuild roads and railtrack damaged by fighting after security forces defeated the Tigers in May.

“These basics are necessray to fast track the mainstreaming of the north and esst,” Mendis said.

“That’s the mindset – we can’t let the nor