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No tenders called for Expressway projects under MR govt.- Kiriella

Higher Education and Highways Minister Lakshman Kiriella said the previous Government spent Rs.6.9 billion per a kilometer on the Outer Circular Highway (Stage 3) while the construction cost of a kilometre of the Central Expressway is Rs.3.9 billion, under the present government.

He further said that the contracts for the construction of highways were offered to contractors without calling for Tenders by the previous government, namely the Southern Expressway and the Colombo-Katunayake Expressway.

During a meeting with a group of officials from the Road Development Authority, Kiriella said some people were attempting to sabotage the work of the Central Expressway by citing the cost, although the construction cost has been reduced by Rs. 3 billion per a kilometre.

“The estimates also had been changed at the end of the highway constructions. For example; the Dodangoda Expressway from Rs.9.6 billion to Rs.21.4 billion, the Dodangoda to Kurudugahahatakma Expressway from Rs.8.3 billion to Rs.26.3 billion and the Kurudugahahatakma to Pinnaduwa Expressway from Rs.8.7 billion to Rs.35 billion,” Minister Kiriella said. Kiriella also said that his ministry was ready to answer queries raised by the Auditor General and not other people who have no knowledge on counting construction costs or skills. He also told the RDA officials, the government has decided to award the contract for the third stage of the Central Expressway to the Taisei Corporation and the agreement will be inked next week.

He assured that the Tender procedures were carried out in a very transparent manner while maintaining the highest standards in all matters pertaining to the Central Expressway which will be funded by the Government of Japan.

The Minister said that although the present government called for Tenders to offer the highway projects, the Mahinda Rajapaksa government never called for Tenders for projects such as the Southern Highway Project. “Instead they decided on the company and obtained Cabinet approval for that particular company” he said. Minister Kiriella said all decisions on the Central Highway project were taken according to the decisions taken by the Cabinet chaired by President Maithripala sirisena and the Economic Council chaired by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.