Umbilical Link

July 17, 2009 (LBO) – A proposal to build a bridge linking Sri Lanka and Indian across the Palk Straits is to be discussed at a meeting of south Asian transport ministers in Colombo, a senior official said. Amal Kumarage, chairman of the island’s National Transport Commission, said the bridge will help Sri Lanka regain its regional identity and be part of a continent.

The bridge, over the existing Adam’s Bridge of sand banks, would almost be like an umbilical link between the two countries.

“If we have a land bridge with India it will revolutionaise travel,” he told a seminar organised by the Chamber of Construction Industry on transport needs to revive the island’s north and east whose progress had been retarded by the 30 year ethnic war.

Government forces defeated the Tamil Tiger rebels in May after a lengthy military campaign. The government is trying to revive the former war zone.

Kumarage said the Indo-Lanka bridge is still at least 10 years away and should be looked at as a long-term project.

“Next weekend (south Asian) transport ministers are to meet in Colombo at which the Indo-Lanka land bridge is an item for discussion.”

While the original proposal gave priority to a