Northern Expressway suspended.

  • Review underway to know real cost

The government has decided to suspend the execution of the northern expressway project initiated by the previous regime, till its cost effectiveness is fully checked, a minister said yesterday.
Before the presidential election, then President Mahinda Rajapaksa ceremonially launched the project which was to be carried out under a loan agreement with China. The highway was due to link Colombo with Kandy via Kurunegala, and then Dambulla.

The new Finance Minister, Ravi Karunanayake, said though such ceremonies were conducted to inaugurate the project, nothing had actually been done on the ground with regard to its implementation.

The Minister told Daily Mirror that costs appeared to have been inflated in most development projects, either executed or in the pipeline, and therefore it would be better to have a full-scale review to ascertain the cost in real terms.  “The cost has been estimated with corruption added on. We have to reduce root out corruption for more development work to be carried out with the funds available. The estimated cost is double the size of the actual cost in certain cases,” he said.   

Besides, the Minister said the new government had decided to stop payments for various dubious transactions committed during the previous regime.  

For instance, he said, 770 double cabs had been imported to the country during the last week of December purported to be used in election related work. “We will sell these vehicles to the public now. Likewise,   over 1800 vehicles were lying at the Presidential Secretariat. As a policy, we decided to use these vehicles for our duty related work without importing new ones,” he said. 

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