Govt incurs Rs 20b loss due to delay | Sunday Observer
Kadawatha-Mirigama stretch of road:

Govt incurs Rs 20b loss due to delay

Highways Minister Johnston Fernando said the Government has to incur a Rs. 20 billion loss due to the delay in construction work on the Kadawatha-Mirigama stretch of road on the Central expressway by the former Yahapalana Government.

The Government has already released Rs.17 billion as its 15 percent share to expedite construction work on the expressway.

Although the former Yahapalana Government constructed the Mirigama-Kurunegala stretch of road on the Central expressway, the Kadawatha-Mirigama stretch of road had been left unattended. The former regime had not released the 15 percent of its share to construct the Kadawatha-Mirigama stretch of road over the past five years.

As a result of this delay, the Government had to incur a Rs.20 billion loss, the Minister told the Sunday Observer yesterday.

Minister Fernando said it was regrettable that the former Yahapalana Government had given the contract to Olympus Construction (Pvt) Ltd owned by one of its Ministers, Daya Gamage to construct a two and a half kilometre stretch of road on the Central expressway. Later, the construction work of another one kilometre stretch of road had been given to the same company. However, that company had not fully completed the three and a half kilometre stretch of road of the expressway and another one and a half kilometre stretch of road has to be completed.

“The Government has not been able to complete the construction work on the Central expressway due to the delay on the part of Olympus Construction (Pvt) Ltd. Otherwise, the expressway would have been opened within four months. It is regrettable that those who spoke against corruption and malpractices had awarded contracts to their own Ministers to construct the expressways,” he said.

Minister Fernando said during the tenure of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the foundation was laid to begin the construction work on the Central expressway. However, the Yahapalana Government which took office cancelled that project. Before 2015, the construction cost of one kilometre stretch of road on the Central expressway was Rs. 2.5 billion. Three months after the Yahapalana Government took office, they increased it to Rs.3.5 billion and a huge amount of money had been unnecessarily spent to construct the expressway. We have begun an independent investigation to look into these irregularities.

The Minister said a proposal has been presented to the Cabinet to construct stretches of roads on the Central expressway from Pothuhera to Galagedara and Kurunegala to Dambulla. We hope to complete construction work on these expressways within the next three and a half years. We also fast-tracked and completed the construction work on the Matara to Hambantota stretch of road on the Southern expressway within four months.

Minister Fernando said it has also been planned to construct another expressway from Hambantota to Batticaloa. Moreover, a feasibility study will be conducted to construct an expressway from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya.

He said as outlined in the President’s Policy Manifesto “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour,” We have decided to develop 100,000 Kms of road network and construct several new expressways. We have already begun to develop 10,000 Kms of the road network. The aim of this program is to ease traffic congestion. The Highways Ministry will carpet almost all roads under the purview of Provincial Councils, Pradeshiya Sabhas and the Central Government.

Minister Fernando said he has also instructed the Highways Ministry and Road Development Authority to expedite construction work on the Ruwanpura expressway. Cabinet approval has been given to proceed with the Ruwanpura expressway construction, with funds of local banks and the services of local construction companies. “I think we would be able to get Cabinet approval within the next two weeks and begin construction work on the expressway,” he said.

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