United National Party (UNP) General Secretary Kabir Hashim has rejected allegations raised by United People Freedom Alliance (UPFA) member Dullas Alahapperuma with regards to the proposed central expressway from Kadawatha to Kandy.
Hashim said that the allegations prove his poor knowledge in Arithmetic and that he has got confused about the length of the proposed highway.
“The actual distance from Kadawatha – Kossinna, Kossinna- Meerigama is 36.5 km and not 32 km. He has totally ignored the expenditure on the number of flyover bridges, constructions over conserved marshy lands thus disregarding the engineering factors. When an estimate is prepared for a project, it is an accepted form of procedure, to prepare a basic minimum cost and call for tenders accordingly. The 120 billion Rupees mentioned here is the calculated amount based on the required engineering format. The accepted methodology is to calculate the cost of the construction from thereon. The first 4 km of Kadawatha – Kossinna, Kossinna- Meerigama highway construction does not involve any cost to the government because the contractor had agreed to bear the cost of this stretch from the savings of the construction of outer Colombo circular highway. The balance 32.5 km of the Highway has been awarded to the Chinese company which the previous Government also had selected. The benefit that the country gained from the Yaha Palanaya Government is that it need not pay for the construction of the first 4 kilometers of the highway,” Kabir Hashim said.
He said that if Dullas Alahapperuma needs further information, he has only to inquire from the Chinese company to whom the contract was awarded by the previous government of which he was also a Minister. Instead, Alahapperuma has only resorted to applying the fundamentals of his brand of politics aimed at misleading and deceiving the public.
“Dullas Alahaperuma should actually speak on the expenditure relating to the construction of Stage II of the Colombo outer circular road under Mahinda Rajapaksa. Rs. 5.3 billion had been spent on the construction of a distance of 9 km which is an increase of Rs. 550 million per km as against the construction of a Kilometre of Kadawatha-Kossinna-Meerigama highway. It is regrettable that Dullas Alahapperuma who was dumbstruck on the allegations made in Parliament and in media about the variations of project cost, on account of the reduction of traffic lanes in express highways constructed during the time of his government, now has suddenly got out of slumber and makes absurd comments,” Hashim said.
He also said that the estimated cost per kilometer of the Southern Express Highway had been Rs.348 billion but the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government spent Rs. 741 billion per kilometer. The estimated cost of the construction of Katunayake Express Highway was Rs. 38 billion but actual cost had been Rs. 47.5 billion.
“We hope that Mr. Dullas Alahapperuma would clarify matters regarding this excess expenditure at his next press conference. Also he will have to explain (as he is so much concerned about the construction of roadways) the manner in which funds collected from the people under Uthuru Mithuru account was spent on the construction of the Northern railway track. It would be also pertinent to explain to the public about the railway power sets and carriages imported for use on this track but now dumped in the Dematagoda railway yard as those are not roadworthy. Mr. Kumara Welgama who succeeded Mr. Alahapperuma had stated that he would not bear responsibility for the corruption involved in the import of these power sets and carriages. We also would like to remind Mr. Alahapperuma that people who purchased forward booking tickets to travel to Jaffna under the Uthuru Mithuru fund still await their turn. It will also be appreciated if he explains at the next Press Conference about the monies forcibly collected as day’s pay contribution to the Uthuru Mithuru fund from the public servants,” Hashim said. (Colombo Gazette)