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Sri Lanka in talks with China over highway projects

Staff writer ▼ | June 1, 2015
The Sri Lankan government said that it is in talks with China to extend a highway linking the capital and the deep south.
Sri Lanka highway
Cooperation   The project to connect Colombo and Hambantota
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the government is having talks with China to fund the project connecting Colombo and Hambantota in the south, Xinhua reported.

The highway which already connects Colombo to the southern town of Galle and Colombo to the southern town of Matara was to be extended to Hambantota as part of the project plan of the former government. However the new government which took office in January this year had decided to review some of the Chinese funded projects following allegations of corruption and lack of transparency when the deals were originally signed.

Wickremesinghe however said that the highway projects would continue, with proper procedures being followed. He also said that talks will be held with a Chinese company to go ahead with the third stage of another highway project known as the "Outer Circular Highway" project.

Once completed, the Outer Circular Highway will interconnect the major highways in Sri Lanka.

The prime minister said that the government has also decided to commence work on a highway connecting Colombo and the central town of Kandy and the first stage will be constructed with funding from Japan and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The prime minister also rejected allegations that the new government was taking political revenge on the former government by launching investigations into some of the projects. He said that the investigations are purely to expose corruption in some of the deals and not take political revenge.