The Opposition is querying why the Government is planning to hand over a project to build a new Integrated Water Supply Scheme for the Gampaha, Attanagalla and Minuwangoda areas that will supply water to one of the most populated areas in the country to the same Chinese firm that is responsible for the constantly broken Norochchalai Power Plant.
The new water supply plant will be constructed in the Gampaha region where Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa is SLFP Organiser.
Addressing Parliament under Standing Order 23 (2) yesterday UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said that Cabinet had decided in April that the company CMEC would be granted the project which is estimated to cost USD 229.5 million after the cost was revised. The Norochcholai coal power plant construction was also contracted to CMEC, Wickremesinghe said. He said that Norochchalai was still not functioning at full capacity and added that the plant had broken down at least four times since commissioned. Wickremesinghe said that the inefficiency of Norochchalai had resulted in the massive electricity tariff hikes recently. The CEB Techniical Engineers Association had blamed the Company for the failure of the plant and added that these breakdowns are aimed at CMEC having their maintenance contracts extended, Wickremesinghe charged.
“Why is the Government handing over such a large project to a company that has already failed to meet on contract?” Wickremesinghe asked. He added that CMEC had limited experience with water supply schemes. “It is standard Government practice to refrain from giving contracts and tenders to a company that has not performed in a previous instance,” he said.