The scamming tale of two expressways: What we know (Video)

The scamming tale of two expressways: What we know (Video)

Written by Lahiru Fernando

18 Sep, 2017 | 5:44 am

We have been bringing you revelations on the ongoing scam related to the Central Expressway Phase 3.

Read More: Central Expressway: Section three and reasons for rejection of Fujita Corp. bid

Before we begin our string of revelations in this article, we want to point out that through the 2017 budget, the government allocated 77 billion for education in Sri Lanka.

The Road Development Authority meanwhile, has set up plans to construct a 73.9 km Ruwanpura Expressway from Kahathuduwa to Palmadulla via Horana.

The cost? – a whopping 275 billion rupees.

While thousands of children, considered the future of our nation, are deprived of proper education…

The government is keen on constructing expressways while spending big money, billions more than they do for our children.

The revelations continue…

Let’s begin with the Ruwanpura Expressway itself. The RDA has set up the plans for the expressway but…, the loans are yet to be taken.

The mandatory Environmental Impact Assesment (EIA) and Economic Feasibility Study (EFS) for the expressway are yet to be completed. However, according to The Sunday Times newspaper, the RDA has already begun acquiring land for the expressway.

Families have been issued notices under the Land Acquisition Act’s controversial Section 38(a), said the newspaper, which allows for immediate takeover of land on grounds of “urgency” with compensation to be paid in the unspecified future.

The RDA has advanced Rs. 314 million to a consultancy firm for the feasibility study.

While it was given out for 32 weeks, it is still not final. When was it assigned? – about two years ago in November 2014.

The Sunday Times says the job was given to Maga Neguma Consultancy and Project Management Services (Pvt) Ltd, which subcontracted it to “Skills International”.

“The RDA is violating every step in the book in its rush to push this through,” – said an official from the Central Environmental Authority to the newspaper, on the basis of anonymity.

Central Expressway project – a wasteful travesty

As we have been exposing in the recent days, the Central Expressway is marred with many a more controversy, just like the Ruwanpura Expressway.

In the Ruwanpura Expressway, the activities began before the EIA came through. But in the Central Expressway, the assessment was ignored all together.

The EIA ignorance and improper land acquisition and resettlement problems meant that the Asian Development Bank and Japan International Cooperation Agency refused to grant state concessionary credit from the Japanese government.

  • Phase 1: Loans taken from Chinese Exim Bank
  • Phase 2: Funds taken from two local banks
  • Phase 3: Loan taken from The Tokyo Mitsubishi Bank

Though Tokyo Mitsubishi Bank provided the loan for Phase 3, it was given on a humongous Insurance Premium as well as several serious conditions.

All these things beg the question;

Aren’t the general public being made to suffer as a result of
the haphazard decision making of the government
while going against proper procedures?

The Minister of Highways attempts to intimidate the media

When details pertaining to these matters were revealed, the Minister of Highways Lakshman Kiriella attempted to intimidate the media by saying there are revelations which needs to be made regarding the media.

Dear Minister,

We would like to reiterate that these funds are money that belongs to the General Public.

Do you recall the Mahaweli Project that was completed during the UNP government back in the day?

WE STILL REMEMBER
How the benefits that were reaped through the successful completion of the project
as well as how the acquisition of land was done
and how compensation was paid in the proper manner.

Isn’t the general public suffering
because expressways are being constructed at exorbitant costs
leaving aside beneficial smaller road development projects, in greed?

News 1st reiterates that the information we receive

will be disseminated to the general public as and when we have them.

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