By Arun Kumaresan –
Duplicity at its best – ‘Hanuman’ bridge was approved by ex President Mahinda Rajapaksa
Mr Wimal Weerawansa currently on bail over investigations related financial misappropriation had sufficiently recovered from the VIP remand sickness to address the Joint Opposition Mayday rally at Galle Face green. A fire brand speaker took a deep nudge alleging present government’s effort to build the “Hanuman Bridge” and was of the strong view the upcoming Indian Prime Minister’s visit to mark the UN celebration of “Vesak” is beginning of the ‘indianisation’ and vomiting his gut out of an apparent doomsday scenario in Sri Lanka. He made a clarion call for hoisting of black flags during Vesak in the presence of the former President MR as a mark of protest to the Indian PM’s visit.
However, Mr Wimal Weerawansa in 2011 was the Minister of Construction, Engineering Housing and Common Amenities. He spearheaded a NATIONAL PHYSICAL PLANNING POLICY AND KEY PROJECTS. The depth of his study needs accolades!!! He published his vision based on a detailed study thro’ a government gazette notification. As stated in the second para of the gazette authenticated by J M L Jayasekara Director General National Physical Planning Division quote “was recommended by the Inter-Ministerial Coordinating committee on 09/112010 and approved by the National Planning Council chaired by H.E the President on 13/01/2011 as per section 4© 0f the act”. Hence, it has been with the full blessings of the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his ministerial colleagues. The preamble and the relevant content of the said gazette as follows:
The relevant portions of the gazette relating to Weerawansa Hanuman Bridge and planned road/rail links with are great neighbor India is reproduced and depicted below (Please read the full gazette notification, which is attached, to get an insight of this great visionary Weerawansa with specific reference to the map indicating the link off Manner pier)
(3) Projects in the International and Asian Context
3.1 Transport and Access
3.1.1 Asian Highway
Proposals to link Sri Lanka with the South Asian mainland by road and rail, such as the Asian Highway and Trans-Asian Railway would drastically change Sri Lanka’s trade and exchange with India and other South Asian neighbors.
3.1.2 Trans-Asian Railway
A railway bridge crossing appears to be the least cost mode of direct connection based on available data. Initially a single-line railway may be installed which could be converted to a double line later. The advantage of a railway crossing over the ship crossing is the continuity of passage without the need for transfer of modes.
Proposed Sri Lanka/India Connection
- Palk Strait
It is undisputed that due to the close proximity to the Indian Subcontinent, setting up of the proposed Asian Highway link between Sri Lanka and India would benefit Sri Lanka immensely. Some benefits that could accrue are stated as follows:
- Promotion of international transport and regional integration
5. Major cargo input to ports at Colombo and Hambanthota from and to Indian Subcontinent.
3.5 List of International and Asian Context Projects:
Mannar City Development:
The transport hub development is main feature of the Mannar City development. Mannar is located very close to India with minimum travelling distance. Asian super highway project will, add more value to Mannar town and have a potential to act as an entire port connects the other ports of the country and India.
As a whole it would be:
- Gateway to Asia (Indo-Sri Lanka Bridge);
- Entrepot (India and other ports of the country);
- Transport terminal (including bus and railway terminals).
Therefore, it would attract more floating population such as tourist, business people and pilgrims from other countries create more demand for more accommodation places to be located in Mannar.
Hence, we should not blame PM Modi or Indian Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, as the said projects to increase trade and regional integration has been approved by the Government of Sri Lanka headed by Mahinda Rajapakshha and given legitimacy with the publication of the Gazette no 1729/15 dated 27/10/2011 by the visionary Wimal Weerawansa seemingly without any pressures from India. As per the gazette the Hanuman Bridge will attract more floating population such as tourist, business people and pilgrims to our country. Hence, Weerawansa likes who get overwhelmed by the phobia of ‘indianisation’ should pose their protests to the former regime.
As a mark of respect and recognition for initiating the construction of the bridge in the revered record of Rama, Sita and Hanuman from Ramayana by the great sage Valmiki, Indian PM should seriously consider recommending our Weerawansa Sahodaraya for a “Padma Bushana” award for his efforts to make this bridge a reality. Hope, MS and RW do not now cash in on the approval given by MR for Hanuman Bridge, as there are other much needed socio political issues and socio economic development needs that merit urgent attention.
Whilst leaving the issues related to building a link to India aside, Weerawansa’s outbursts epitomizes the nudity of our political scribes and the emotions they create to capture votes at any cost. Hope the public is made aware; as such emotions in past have only fuelled hatred leading to bloodshed.
“You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time”