Written by Keshala Dias
05 Apr, 2017 | 9:04 pm
The General Manager of Sri Lanka Railways, in an interview with Newsfirst, explained his stance, and the actions being taken over the importation of 12 locomotives for the upcountry railway line.
However, questions continue to remain on the timeline of events that preceded the tender.
Recently, News1st, as well as several other print media outlets highlighted that possible corruption was brewing within Sri Lanka Railways, with regard to the decision to purchase twelve locomotives for service in the upcountry railway line.
News1st has learned that Sri Lanka Railways is in the process of finalising a deal with General Electric, a manufacturer based in USA.
Incidentally in 2012, General Electric had placed an unsolicited bid in order to supply locomotives for the upcountry railway line.
The very next year, a group of four officials connected to Sri Lanka Railways embarked on an assessment and study tour of GE locomotives in Tibet, which News1st has learned, was fully funded by General Electric which placed the unsolicited bid.
Sources revealed to News1st that several members of the group who engaged in the tour of Tibet in 2013 also played a hand in drafting the technical specifications for the latest tender and that they were also in the technical evaluation committee.
The Sunday Observer on March 19, raised concerns that the tender specifications were inexplicably weighted towards those of the GE engine to limit the number of eligible bidders.
Conversation between the General Manager of Sri Lanka Railways and a News1st journalist..
B. A. P. Ariyaratne (General Manager of Sri Lanka Railways): “There was nothing like that, but that has nothing to do with this tender. That was an unsolicited offer they brought couple of years back. There was a period in the former government that unsolicited tenders were entertained. If the then management decided to send some senior officials to go and have a look for the purpose of looking at this, considering the unsolicited offer it is only one party right? That kind of thing would have happened. I don’t deny it but however the Tibet locomotive which is running is not the locomotive we are asking now”.
Journalist: “You are expressly saying that the Tibet trip has nothing to do with this tender”.
B. A. P. Ariyaratne (General Manager of Sri Lanka Railways): “Nothing to do with this tender”.
Journalist: “Were two of these members in the Technical Evaluation Committee that was put together to prepare the tender specification this time around, for 2016?”
B. A. P. Ariyaratne (General Manager of Sri Lanka Railways): “Most of these officers are there, not all. But in Railway, there are very few people that can be appointed to this type of committee. They must be senior enough. The rank must be high, there must be recognition for the committee officers. Many of them have been appointed. But my point is this, Railway specification has been prepared to suit the railway requirement”.
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