Serious discrepancies taken place during Yahapalana regime | Daily News
Central Expressway project:

Serious discrepancies taken place during Yahapalana regime

Serious discrepancies have taken place in relation to the feasibility study and the procurement activities of the Central Expressway project during the Yahapalana regime, COPE Chairman Professor Charitha Herath revealed in Parliament yesterday (22).

The COPE Chairman made this revelation during the adjournment debate moved by the Government on COPE reports submitted to the House respectively on March 10, 2021 and April 06, 2021.

COPE Chairman Charitha Herath said that the two reports include the committee observations and recommendations on the Procurement of Coal by Ceylon Coal Company Limited for the Norochcholai Lakvijaya Power Plant from 2009 to 2016, the feasibility study of the Central Expressway project and the special audit report on the procurement activities for that project, the Special Auditor General’s Report on Operations of Lakvijaya Power Plant and its Environmental Impact, Special Audit Report on Kelani River Pollution, Special Audit Report on Procurement of Computerized Lottery Printing and Handing over of Licenses to the National Lottery Board in 2016 and a special audit report on the Digitization of Public Service and the role played by the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka in this regard. The reports also include a special investigation carried out by the Committee on the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology established by the Mahapola Higher Education Scholarship Trust Fund.

The construction activities of the project got inordinately delayed owing to the constant changes being made to the Track of the Central Expressway, thus causing an adverse impact on the cost of the project, the COPE Chairman observed. Professor Herath pointed out that the former Yahapalana Government’s decision to construct the road from Kadawatha to Mirigama instead of from Enderamulla, as initially planned, and has resulted in additional feasibility studies being carried out at a huge cost. Professor Herath noted that some of the feasibility study reports were irrelevant or abnormally costly.

“It is evident that the feasibility reports have a direct connection with the corruption taking place at large scale development projects such as these. The COPE would like to observe that the feasibility study reports should not be changed in parallel to the changes of Governments. Feasibility reports should be solid and credible, such reports should not be manipulated. National projects should not be changed as the governments change. It cost billions of rupees of public money. Whether the Central Expressway project is to be renamed once again as the Northern Expressway, the feasibility study done on the project should not be altered,” Professor Herath pointed out.

According to the COPE observations, the delay in the commencement of work on the first section of the Central Expressway extending from Kadawatha to Mirigama during from 2015 to 2019, has caused a financial loss of Rs. 8 billion. The COPE report also revealed that the selection of SMEC for the first feasibility study took place without a procurement process. Furthermore, the project which was under three phases as the Northern Expressway in 2012 had been changed to four phases as the Central Expressway by 2015.

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