The State of Roads around Arugam Bay

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Now, after two decades, I am shocked to see a calamitous state of the Periya Muhathuwaram Causeway, – in ruination, – left to decay after the tsunami, by the Road Development Authority, – successor to the Dept. of Highways.

During the last many months, despite the many requests, the RDA had wantonly neglected to repair the damages to the road, the causeway and the bridge, exposing the motorists and the pedestrians to suffer death. The devastating tsunami struck the East coast, and the causeway was not spared, and even one year after the tsunami, the causeway continues to remains a death-trap, which makes one to ask, whether the Road Development Authority is alive to its responsibility.

The road, the causeway and the bridge, serves more than one hundred thousand people living in an area extending over 1760 sq., between Tambiluvil and Panama. If this causeway, on the Akkaraipattu – Pottuvil road is not repaired immediately, people living under three divisional secretariats, – Lahugala, Pottuvil and Tirukovil will be cut off from rest of the Country.

Is it what the RDA wants at a time when both the Gvot., and the International NGOs are busy rebuild the devastated region?.

Tourism will suffer, thousands of tourists will be deprived of an opportunity to visit the popular tourist resorts at Arugam-Bay, Ullai and the Kumana Birds and Animals Sanctuary. People will be deprived of employment and income. Programs of Tsunami rehabilitation and re-settlement will not see the light of day.

We are aware that the GA Amparai, had requested both the Chief Engineer, and the Executive Engineer, RDA Akkaraipattu, on more than two occasions, to repair the Periya Muhathuwaram causeway to help the Country and its people. Although the offices of both, – the EE and the Ch.E. of the RDA at Akkaraipattu, are established not far from the Periya Muhathuwaram causeway, it is shocking that they, both had failed to inspect the site.

The dire necessity to repair the causeway before November last year, was conveyed to the RDA but they failed to take notice of the impending calamity. Now the causeway is more damaged and is under water, – more in a state of ruin, as shown by the picture below.

It is in danger of being completely washed away – grinding halt to the programs of rehabilitation of a region where several thousands of homes were destroyed and many thousands living in welfare camps. Food, medicine and other needs will not reach the people in the welfare camps, when the causeway gets washed away.

The “Sunday Observer” exposed, the sorry state of the causeway 21 years ago, about the danger to life, and, now after two decades, the RDA had removed even the protective steel bars, on either sides of the causeway, that gave protection to the people when water level rose up to three feet above the road before entering the sea through the estuary at much speed.

There are no warning notices at the causeway and recently when the road went under water the Special Task Force at Tirukovil were called in to save the lives of people. The road, the bridge and the causeway having been damaged by the tsunami and the floods later, yet remain as a testimony to the neglect, if not inefficiency and disinterestedness of the officers in the Road Development Authority in the region which is alleged to have failed to handover the Periya Muhathuwaram to the Japanese Government who have agreed to reconstruct the highway from Pottuvil to Batticaloa.

Patriotism demands committed devotion both to the Country and the people which seems significantly absent in the RDA in this region. More than twenty accidents have occurred on this broken causeway, when motorists fell into the water from the unprotected roadway sans protective railings. Even those International NGOs were not spared.

Even their vehicles carrying men and materials have fallen into the water under the causeway.

The people fondly ask, when will the RDA arise from its long slumber to repair a broken causeway and highway?.

The broken road, the damaged causeway and the bridge over the causeway on the Akkaraipattu – Pottuvil A-4 road requires immediate repair and will the RDA respond?. People eagerly wait for them to commence work on the damaged causeway.

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