Written by Nathasha De Alwis
11 Mar, 2018 | 9:39 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st) – The most expensive highway project ever undertaken by Sri Lanka has run into a storm. Once again a significant “departure from the process” on the part of government has seen a project being awarded without following due process and established procedure.
The Sunday Times reports today that an Indian-government owned engineering consultancy company has won without tender a contract to carry out a feasibility study.
The study is centred around road improvement projects in Katugastota and Galagedera in the Kandy district
According to the report filed in the Sunday Times, there was an acknowledgement that the Central Expressway project will lead to much greater congestion in Kandy something the city and its access roads are not geared for.
The Eximbank of India had consented to provide funds for the Feasibility Studies. Lakshman Kiriella before he lost his Highways portfolio to Kabeer Hashim, had made the original decision to “appoint” the Indian company Rites Ltd to make a comprehensive project report on the road activities.
The Cabinet has now approved this, enjoying the concurrence of current Minister of Highways, Kabeer Hashim.
No tender has been called to award the consultancy.
“It’s from the Indian credit line so we are not calling tenders,” said a source from the Prime Minister’s office.
However, Indian Exim Bank rules published online facilitate the soliciting of bids provided they are from authorised Indian companies.
“The lending Bank will invite Expression of Interest from Indian companies/entities and undertake a pre-qualification exercise for each project at its cost,” the operational guidelines state.
“The list of pre-qualified companies/entities will be provided to the borrowing Government. Thereafter, the project will be put to bid under a competitive bidding process by the borrowing Government/agency.”
Complete transparency and fairness in the award of the contracts by borrowing Government to Indian companies under Lines of Credit are extremely critical, the document says.
Although the Eximbank of India expects transparency from borrowing governments, the Sri Lanka government have not called for competitive bids for the Consultancy work.
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