Higher education and highways minister Lakshman Kiriella told a recent meeting at Pathadumbara that certain persons were trying to sabotage the construction of the central expressway that will benefit devotees to pay homage to the tooth relic. He said the foreign investors could get discouraged due to opposition by various parties and the project could get halted.
Third phase to proceed first
The expressway construction will take place in three phases. Kiriella is attempting to begin construction in the third phase first, setting aside the first and the second, as the investors to the first two phases had opted out.
China had agreed to invest in the first phase, but it has changed the decision due to the conduct of our politicians, as its previous investments had failed and were opposed. A main reason is that no environment impact assessment report has been prepared.
The NSB and the BoC came forward to invest in the second phase. As foreign investors cannot be found for the project, Kiriella is trying to start the project through local investors.
Japan’s Tokyo Mitsubishi Bank will invest for the third phase and it has already provided the money. Therefore, the highways ministry is planning to start with the third phase.
Failed Taisai Corporation
For the first phase construction, Japan’s Taisai Corporation and Fujita Corporation had submitted bids. The latter’s bid was 12 million less. However, Kiriella has handed over the task to Taisai Corp. Reports say this company has been blacklisted due to its failed projects in Japan, including an expressway project. The prime minister and the economic committee have objected to this.
However, Kiriella has agreed to get Fujita Corp. too, involved in the construction work.