November 3, 2010 (AFP) – Sri Lanka plans to spend a billion dollars in foreign aid to rebuild roads as the island emerges from nearly four decades of ethnic fighting, a top official said Wednesday. Sri Lanka’s Highways Ministry Secretary Wasantha Karannagoda said they had secured funding to rebuild and repair nearly 4,000 kilometres (2,500 miles) of roads over the next two years.
“Some of these roads had not been maintained for the past 25 years or more because of the conflict,” Karannagoda said while announcing the final stages of a 100-million-dollar French-funded road project in a former war-zone.
The French aid was given in 2008 and is in addition to another billion dollars secured from among others the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, European Union, China and Japan.
“We see improved road connectivity helping build communal harmony and is a very important part of peace and unity,” Karannagoda told reporters. He was the navy chief when troops crushed Tamil rebels in May last year.
The Tigers had campaigned for a separate state for island’s ethnic Tamil minority and had at the height of their power controlled nearly a third of the island’s territory.