PM in special ministerial statement to House says :


Behind-the-scene agents displeased by our achievements:

Tourism development project, IT park, industrial zone also proposed :

The government managed to cut down construction costs of Phase Three of the Central Expressway by Rs.25 billion following negotiation with Japan’s Taisei Corporation, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday.

Making a special statement in parliament, the Prime Minister rejected allegations made by a media group that project costs had been inflated and proper procedures had not been followed.

He said the Taisei Corporation’s initial estimate stood at Rs. 159 billion but the government through negotiations with the construction company brought it down to Rs. 134 billion thereby making a huge saving. He reminded the House that the Colombo-Kandy Expressway was an election pledge of his government and noted that it was also a part of the proposed town development project.

“A tourism development project and an IT park will get off the ground with Kandy as its centre.

An industrial zone is also proposed in the same area,” he said.

The Prime Minister pointed out that constructions of Phase One of the Central Expressway has been undertaken by a Chinese Company, Phase Two by a Sri Lankan company, Phase Three by two Japanese Companies and Phase Four by an Indian company making it a truly multi-national effort.

Elaborating on Phase Three from Pothuhera to Galagedara, the Premier said the section contained three tunnels, elevated roads and 14 bridges. Special measures had to be taken to minimise the environmental harm. The project is carried out with a loan from the Tokyo-Mitsubishi Bank. The exact amount was yet to be finalised. He said main contractor, Taisei, would carry out the construction jointly with Fujita Corporation. The work is scheduled to be completed in three years.

Premier Wickremesinghe said the government hoped to pay compensation for the land acquired for the expressway by raising loans from local banks.

He severely criticised a private electronic media group accusing them of distorting facts and violating media ethics to discredit him and his government. “Why are they attacking me. Are they attacking me because I was able to reduce the cost by Rs. 25 Billion. Are they hurt by this achievement, “ the Premier asked in parliament. He challenged the private media organisation to carry his statement in full.

“We are proceeding with this project to benefit the public. The people’s representatives from the area, including ministers Sarath Amunugama, Lakshman Kiriella and Rauff Hakeem are aware of this reality. There are business tycoons who want to deprive the public of these benefits,” he stressed.

“There are some elements who act as agents of foreign companies.Some do it openly while others do it behind the scene. For agents like that, a reduction of Rs. 25 billion is a colossal loss to them. Everyone should understand that using their media strength to advance hidden business agendas is unethical,” the Prime Minister added. The Prime Minister explained that only Japanese companies could bid because the project was funded by Japan. Responding favourably to a request by JVP Leader Anura Dissanayake, the Prime Minister also agreed to a parliamentary debate on the project.

The Prime Minister also noted that the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank had informed the Sri Lankan government that the country could not expect concessionary funding after 2019. “We will have to think about our way forward and how we are going to finance our development projects after that,” Wickremesinghe added. 


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