Government will not stop development drive – Minister Johnston

Chief Government Whip and Highways Minister Johnston Fernando said that the Government will not stop the development drive but move forward delivering the people what they were promised.

He was addressing the launching ceremony of the construction of the first phase of the Ruwanpura Expressway on Friday.

“We are now passing a very decisive moment because of the pandemic and all have to take utmost care of the situation. The Opposition Leader and his men seem to think that Corona is only here. This is a global pandemic. The Government successfully faced the First and Second Waves and we will face the Third Wave, too, effectively. We have trust in the President, Prime Minister, Health Authorities and Security Forces. We have the support of people and we are sure to win this challenge, too,” he said.

“Ours is an opposition that demands to lock down the country and then to re-open it. We as a government have decided to move forward and not to suspend any development project despite the threats from the pandemic. We cannot lag behind because of the pandemic. Even without a pandemic, the Yahapalana government could not develop this country. They turned this land of opportunity into a wasteland within a couple of years under their government. Their nagging was that there were no funds to develop the country. They said that they had to go begging funds from other countries. We changed that scenario and now the country is again on the fast track to development. We have made the country’s economy stable. We have faced challenges one by one and achieved success. We have re-established national security. At the time they took over the government, our country was second only to China in the growth rate. They destroyed that economy by robbing the Central Bank. They siphoned off money from development projects. After we came to power we changed that culture and now we are again on the path of development,” the Minister said.

The Minister said that much worse challenges were faced than what was faced today. “We won the war under the leadership of Mahinda Rajapaksa, while the Opposition and its allies kept shouting that we would never win it. The leaders of the Yahapalana government lied to the entire nation. They misled not only people but the Mahanayakes of the Three Chapters. They have no solid work to show off except lies and allegations,” the State Minister said.

“The Ruwanpura Expressway will be completed in 30 months. Around 90 per cent of work of the Kurunegala Expressway is completed. It should have been declared open for the public use six months back but the work was delayed by sabotaging act of a private construction company of a Minister of the yahapalana government. That is their concern for this country. They place their political agenda over the development of the country. They try to derail our work but we are confident we can defeat those conspiracies because we have won over bigger challenges,” the Minister said.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa declared open the construction work of the Rs. 54.7 billion first phase of the Ruwanpura Expressway virtually from Temple Trees, in line with strict COVID-19 guidelines,

The Ruwanpura Expressway from Kahatuduwa to Pelmadulla via Ratnapura (73.9 km) has been divided into three sections for implementation. Section 1 is from Kahatuduwa to Ingiriya (26.3 km), Section 2 from Ingiriya to Ratnapura (26.2 km), and Section 3 from Ratnapura to Pelmadulla (21.4 km).

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