Higher education and highways minister Lakshman Kiriella submitted a cabinet paper last week to procure a contractor for the third phase construction of the Potuhera-Galagedara (32.5 km) stretch of the central expressway. However, there were no proper project report or environment impact assessment, and two fake reports had had hurriedly been arranged.
The acquisition of land for this stretch and compensation of payment have also come into question, according to area residents. The broker to find a contractor was former Central Bank governor Arjun Mahendran. The Japanese embassy has named M/S Taisei Corporation, M/S Penta Ocean Construction Ltd and M/S Wakachiku Construction Ltd. to take part in the bidding process by the UDA. Awarding of the Japan government funded project has been delayed due to continuous delays in the bidding process.
In this situation, the Japanese government has introduced M/S Fujita Corporation as the fourth bidder, purportedly to raise competitiveness. The cabinet paper says the pursuant competitiveness resulted in a reduction of the bids to Rs. 20 billion. A committee appointed by the cabinet evaluated the bids and recommended Taisei Corporation, but the Japanese government wanted Fujita too, included. Therefore, the ministerial committee on economic management decided to implement the project through a consortium.
Kiriella has submitted the cabinet paper dated 29 June 2017 to obtain proposals from the two companies and to seek approval for the awarding of the contract for the project.