Appeal to President to stop the Project : State land mapping big cuts involved for Officials

The Government has decided to entrust the survey of State land to Trimble Inc., an American Company overlooking the Government's Survey Department, by obtaining a massive loan of Rs 23.5 billion from that Company for the purpose. This project was even abandoned by the Rajapaksa government saying it was too expensive.

 

The relevant Cabinet Paper was tabled at the Cabinet meeting on 3 October by the Minister of Lands and Parliamentary Reforms Gayantha Karunathilaka and approval was obtained. In the Cabinet Paper it was stated that with a view to expediting the survey of State lands, the necessary technological assistance of Trimble Inc. is being sought. However, in the project proposal submitted by Trimble Inc. it is mentioned that the Sri Lankan Government is obtaining a loan of USD 154 million from the...... Company on a 4 per cent interest basis. The repayment period of this loan is 15 years with a five-year grace period.

Under this project, 24 American workers are to be engaged for a period of four years. In addition, after the termination of the project, Sri Lanka will have to expend Rs 400 million annually to maintain it.

In the report dated 21 March 2017 and four other reports forwarded prior to that by Surveyor General P.M.P. Udayakantha, it is indicated that the sum required for technological assistance is only Rs 3 billion. Yet, ignoring the stiff opposition of the trade unions, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management, chaired by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, gave full approval to it.

According to Union sources this is a colossal waste of money. A certain group while blaming the inefficiency of the Government Survey Department is trying to commit huge financial misappropriation, he charged. Such an unsolicited proposal being forwarded, and the Government giving its approval is not for nothing. Definitely there is an underhand in this deal. Paskaralaingam is behind this deal with Access group of companies. Each had been promised commission in millions.

The Government Surveyors' Association membership has decided to report sick and keep away from work on 7 and 8 December in protest against this project.

While technological assistance should be enlisted from the Government Surveyors Association, but that ought to be done by calling for tenders in a transparent manner. In all the reports submitted with the consensus of all the trade unions, it is stated that the expenditure towards the project would be Rs 3 billion. To serve whose purpose is the sum of Rs 23.5 billion being approved via the unsolicited proposal casting aside the reports. The Unions want this unsolicited proposal cancelled .

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