The Government yesterday cleared the air on the proposed Hanuman Bridge connecting Sri Lanka and India across the Palk Strait saying it was “a long-term plan, but not discussed”, during Prime Minister Ranil Wickeremsinghe’s recent visit to New Delhi.
Disclosing the details of the MoU signed between the two countries to develop the road network connecting Jaffna and Mannar, Mannar and Vavunia, Vavuniya and Trncomalee and Trincomalee with Dambulla, the Prime Minister said: “Indian Road Transport and Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari was of the opinion that a bridge connecting the two countries is a good long-term plan. (However), we did not speak about it.”
“We proposed connecting the northern road network to our expressways either from Dambulla or Kurunegala. Let us proceed and get our work done in this way. The future expectations of both countries can be discussed later,” he added in response to a supplementary question of UPFA Joint Opposition MP Udaya Gammanpila, who was referring to a Tweet on Hanuman bridge in Parliament yesterday.
According to media reports, in September 2015 the Government of India came out with its plans publicly to build a 23 km sea bridge linking India’s Dhanushkodi to Lanka’s Talaimannar.
The proposed project was presented by Minister Gadkari as one which was vital to increase the trans-SAARC road and transport network. The cost of the bridge was estimated to be $ 5.18 billion. (AH)