Rajarata Pokunu Project under scrutiny over alleged fraud involving public funds

Rajarata Pokunu Project under scrutiny over alleged fraud involving public funds

Rajarata Pokunu Project under scrutiny over alleged fraud involving public funds

Written by Tharushan Fernando

31 Oct, 2016 | 7:34 pm

The Rajarata Pokunu Project for which funds were allocated by the Central Government, will go down in history as an incident of defrauding public funds, against a backdrop where even the tables and chairs at the Galenbindunuwewa Pradeshiya Sabha are being auctioned.

On two occasions in 2011, movable assets belonging to the Galenbindunuwewa Pradeshiya Sabha were auctioned by court order, to pay the arrears owed by the council to a contractor on the Rajarata Pokunu project.

However, there isn’t even a well, let alone a pond in the Galenbindunuwewa area, constructed by the Pradeshiya Sabha on the directive of the North Central Provincial Council.

As the case filed by the contractor hired to build the ponds is still before court, it is possible that the Pradeshiya Sabha may have to auction more movable assets, in order to pay arrears.

The premises housing the Pradeshiya Sabha, has now been taken over by the Divisional Secretariat.

The fact that both the Divisional Secretariat and Pradeshiya Sabha in Galenbindunuwewa are wasting public funds and not delivering public services, is symbolised by this water tank. Please see video.

The only purpose this water tank serves at present, is as a viewing deck to take in the surroundings.

A large portion of the 20 million rupees allocated by the Central Government to the Divisional Secretariat to fulfill the drinking water needs of 300 families in the settlements of Ashwayabendiwewa, Ihalagama and Ulpathgama, was used to commence construction of this water tank in 2009.

People from the 300 families who would be beneficiaries of this project, provided their labour free of charge.

Having constructed the tank and laid the pipelines, the Divisional Secretariat entrusted the maintenance and operation of this water tank to the Pradeshiya Sabha in 2012.

In 2014, the Pradeshiya Sabha charged a sum of  Rs.7,000  from each family, in order to affix water meters and connect them to the water supply grid.

While the well which serves as the water source contains plenty of water, where this water is distributed to after it is pumped to the water tank, is a mystery.

A considerable section of the population of Galenbindunuwewa has been affected by the scourge of chronic kidney disease which has blighted the Raja Rata region.

Against a backdrop where the people’s labour and money was stolen, and where they have been deprived of the benefits of a 20 million rupee project allocated for them by the central government, what secret belies the ability of the former Divisional Secretary, the Technical Officer and the former Chairman of the Pradeshiya Sabha in Galenbindunuwewa, to evade punishment?

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