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Water Transportation Project underway to mitigate traffic congestion: Patali

Moves are under way by the Megapolis Ministry to put to use inland waterways in the Western Province for passenger transportation in a bid to reduce road traffic congestions, Megapolis and Western Development Minister Champika Ranawaka said. The ministry is set to introduce commercial water transportation systems for waterways in Wellawatta, Kelaniya and Colombo in keeping with the Megapolis Ministry’s Water-based Transportation Project, the minister said.

“Commercial boat passenger transportation services will be introuced to ferry commuters from Battaramulla to Wellawatta, Fort to Union Place and Mattakkuliya to Hanwella as part of the project. Wellawatta, Kelamiya and Colombo canals will be used,” a Megapolis Ministry officials said. The Megapolis Ministry’s Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation (SLLRDC) is carrying out the water transportation projects as per instructions of Minister Ranawaka.

SLLRDC Chairman Asela Iddawala said they are currently carrying out feasibility studies to introduce water transportation services.”one of them is to run a boat passenger service between Thotalanga and Negombo,” he said.

He said SLLRDC has contracted Sri Lanka Navy to construct a jetty at Diyatha Unyana to start a public boat service providing water transportation from Battaramulla to Wellawatta.

This will be their Water-based Transportation Project’s first commuter transportation service.It will take a month or two to complete the project.

“We have already called tenders from boat operators. The service will be run through a public- private partnership,” he explained.

“We will need passenger boats that can accommodate more than 20 people and we want facilities to guarantee passenger safety. These are looked into,” he said.

“Also,” he said ,” We are taking steps to set up car parks for those using water transportation services. This is to enable them to park their vehicles and to get on boats so that they can go to their desired destinations from that point using water transportation.” “It takes about two hours to travel from Battaramulla to Wellawattata by bus. But through the waterway it takes just 40 minutes. It saves time.It will have a considerable impact on the country’s economy and development,” he said.