Acting cabinet spokesman Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said today that the government would add 500 kilometers of new railway lines to the existing lines in the next five years, for the first time in railway history.
He said a proposal made by Transport Minister Kumara Welgama for the construction of a new rail road from Embilipitiya to Batticaloa via Moneragala and Ampara received the cabinet approval to realise the target.
He said the Cabinet accordingly, decided to entrust the Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau to have a pre-feasibility study on this project. On an earlier decision a feasibility study has been conducted by the Moratuwa University to extend the Kelani Valley Railway line from Avissawella to Hambantota via Ratnapura, Embilipitiya and Mattala.
The thinking of the government is that a railway line would act as a major factor to take development to the periphery and the new railway lines would be a boost to industrial and agricultural and tourism development in the rural areas, Minister Yapa stressed. (Sandun A. Jayasekera)