Project Loon: Govt’s ‘code of silence’ over ICTA CEO draws criticism (Video)

Project Loon: Govt’s ‘code of silence’ over ICTA CEO draws criticism (Video)

Written by Lahiru Fernando

13 Mar, 2017 | 6:30 am

The government has been maintaining a ‘code of silence’ surrounding the appointment of Muhunthan Canagey as the CEO of the Information and Communication Technology Agency.

Google’s ‘Project Loon’ was to be implemented in Sri Lanka utilizing thirteen balloons to establish 10,000 Wi-Fi zones, providing high speed internet access for the entire country. The CEO of ICTA Muhunthan Canagey, spearheaded the project on behalf of Sri Lanka.

While Canagey’s term was to end on March 3, several recent media reports indicated that his term had been extended. However, these reports come amid a backdrop where the President has instructed that Canagey only function as a Director of the agency.

Given the situation and the government’s silence, activists have begun voicing their criticism over the matter.

“The baloon was sent up, it came crashing down”

The Voice Against Corruption says that ‘the boss’ behind the project is an individual who came to Sri Lanka when the UNP came into power. This ‘Boss’ VAC speaks of is the CEO of ICTA Muhunthan Canagey.

“The baloon was sent up, it came crashing down, and it was sent away spending the country’s money. Now there is no free WiFi and the baloon is gone too.” said VAC’s Wasantha Samarasinghe.

According to VAC, President Maithripala Sirisena had recently issued a letter instructing that Canagey’s term not be extended but not be discontinued either.

“Against a backdrop where even the CEO of Project Loon has been changed because the baloon project was failing in the other countries where it is being tested too, the Ranil Wickremesinghe’s and Harin Fernando’s are re-appointing those who carried out the project here, to continue for another two years.” – VAC convener added.

Why do the competent authorities in the government continue to save face before the people, in spite of the series of events that have transpired and the accusations surrounding the Google Loon project in Sri Lanka?

How much money has the government spent on this project?

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