Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga asserts that 162 million will be allocated for the development of several identified railway stations and historic forts as tourist attractions this year.
Accordingly, the Bandarawela and Nanu Oya railway stations and the historic forts of Mannar, Kalpitiya and Batticaloa will be developed, the Minister said and the Ministry of Tourism has already commenced the development of 07 railway stations as tourist attractions. Kalutara, Unawatuna, Bentota, Kandy and Negombo are being developed in this regard whilst Bandarawela and Nanu Oya railway stations will be developed this year. The development work will be undertaken in collaboration with the Railway Department.
The Minister stated that the decoration of the front part of the railway stations, modifying the rest rooms, the availability of tourist facilities, the provision of modern seating facilities and the improvement of sanitary facilities will be carried out under this.
The amount allocated for the development of railway stations is Rs.62 million while a sum of Rs.100 million is allocated for the development of Mannar, Kalpitiya and Batticaloa historical forts this year. The Portuguese forts at Mannar and Batticaloa were built in 1560 and 1628, while the Dutch fort at Kalpitiya was built in 1667. Minister Ranatunga affirmed that the officials have been instructed to undertake the relevant renovation work to ensure the historical significance of these forts.
The support of the Department of Archaeology and the Central Cultural Fund is expected for the renovations.