30 September, 2020

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Yahapālanaya Set To Go Ahead With Thrice Cancelled US $ 88 Million Nuwara Eliya Chinese Sport Project

The thrice cancelled US $ 88 million Chinese funded turn key project which was set to be built in Nuwara Eliya under the former Rajapaksa regime, is likely to be approved by the present Yahapālanaya led government soon, fear environmentalist activists.

Minister Navin Dissanayake

Minister Navin Dissanayake

A High Altitude Training Centre for athletics and other sports which was scheduled to be constructed initially in 2009, within the confines of the Race Course, is making headway a fourth time around despite reported environmental threats, as seen when it was first first scrapped in 2009.

When Colombo Telegraph contacted well known environmentalist and lawyer Jagath Gunawardena for his thoughts on this project he said ‘”there is a portion of the said property in Nuwara Eliya, where we have already sent in our recommendations to the Mayor Mahinda Dodampegamage in early February 2015, for it to be made a ‘Conservative Zone’ and have it gazetted in parliament.

This is the fourth time that this Chinese project has been sent to the Ministry of Sports as an ‘unsolicited proposal’, which means that open bids are not called for such ventures. On the three previous occasions, the Cabinet Review Sub Committee (CRSC) of the Treasury rejected both proposals.

Documented evidence from 2009 reveal that the then Minister of Sports Gamini Lokuge spent approximately Rs 200 million to develop the infrastructure of the project. This project was eventually made redundant by the Urban Development Authority, due to it being proven that the project if continued would be an environmental threat due to flooding issues.

In the second instance in August of 2013, the former Minister of Sports Mahindananda Aluthgamage was quoted in the Sunday Times on the 4th August 2013 to have said that “China Volant Industry Company Limited has offered to bear costs up to US$ 85 million (more than Rs. 11 billion) and financing would have to be found for the remaining US$ 27.65 million (more than Rs. 3.5 billion). He did say then that the Department of External Resources should be called upon to look for the extra funds needed”.

However this project resurfaced a third time in 2014, when Anura Jayawickrema was the then Secretary to the Ministry. However the CSRC yet again was firm in not approving of it.

Colombo Telegraph was made to understand that Minister Dissanayake has now entrusted professionals of the University of Moratuwa to look into the re-valuation of this project from a financial aspect, as all CRSC committees and all other Unsolicited Proposals are being terminated by the present government as a policy decision. This particular proposal is the only one that currently exists or rather is being pursued.

Colombo Telegraph contacted Kamani Sooriyaarcachchi the Director Sports Development of the Ministry of Sports in the hope that she could shed more light on this topic. However she refused to comment saying she is not authorized to speak to the Media. Colombo Telegraph then contacted the Secretary of the Ministry M.I.M. Rafeek only to be told that he was at a meeting with current Environmental Ministry officials. We were promised that he would return our call after his meeting. That phone call is yet to be received.

“The country’s President Maithripala Sirisena make a strong statement on the protection of all environmental issues of our country. President Sirisena went on to say that even though he has dissolved most of his ‘Executive Powers’ as the President,he will not hesitate to use his powers to the fullest, if for any reason any part of our beautiful island nation and its ecology is threatened. As much as it may be a necessity to have a state of the art High Altitude Training Center for athletes, it may be best to have it built in a location where there would not be any threat to the environment. Also our very own ‘Little England’ could then continue to preserve its identity, heritage and beauty” said Panduka Keerthinanda lawyer and former Chairman of the Sugathathasa National Sports Complex Authority.

Colombo Telegraph did contact Minister Dissanayake in the past and was told that he would happy to answer any questions through email. We did send him questions and a reminder too but he is yet to respond.

Colombo Telegraph reliably learns that a board paper is yet to be filed in parliament regarding this project and this issue is likely to be debated soon.

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Latest comments

  • 12
    1

    Navin is not a patch on his father.

    Looks like another crooked deal under Yahapalanaya.

    • 8
      1

      Jagath Fernando

      “Looks like another crooked deal under Yahapalanaya.”

      MaRa Crooks replaced by Yahapalanaya Crooks…

      Croks Crooks Chatu Crooks Amana Crooks …..

      • 0
        0

        What a lunatic! behaves like a kid in a toy shop not as Cabinet Minister.

  • 11
    0

    This looks like a highly suspicious deal.

  • 8
    0

    oh navin !!!!!! Chinese and their money are detested and Yahapalanaya does not want it.
    What are you upto? Build a complex and name it after yourself or your father & gain some cheap votes?
    Why don’t you vote for the Colombo City port project and get that revived too. That too is pure chinese money.

  • 6
    0

    Navin must practice good governance. Not going lottery jackpot.

  • 7
    0

    Why not have the project. Navin and his family can
    have their dogs and run a kennel club if everything
    fails.[Edited out]

  • 8
    0

    Navin Dissanayake is flirting with disaster. First the iffy Kennel Club ripoff and now this highly questionable project being revived by him.

    Navin’s “… entrusted professionals of the University of Moratuwa to look into the re-valuation of this project from a financial aspect,” speaks volumes, especially if these are the same “professionals” who ok’d the Port City Project!

    With ministers like these, what hope for integrity in the promised Yahapalanaya?

  • 8
    0

    It is shocking that more corrupt projects of the corrupt nation of China, are being discovered.
    Is there a probe into the Rs.200 Million spent by Gamini Lokuge to ‘develop the infrastructure’ of this project – will the FCID take it up?

  • 4
    0

    The people who voted the current regime into power are getting increasingly disgusted
    with the obvious reluctance to bring the robber barons to book , and the obvious lack of an economic policy .

  • 5
    0

    Filling his pockets I bet. Once the head is empty then the only way to go is to fill the pockets.

  • 6
    0

    Would there be a Public Library also? The Dissanaikes basically do not like Libraries?

    • 3
      0

      “Would there be a Public Library also?”
      Not if it was to be a Tamil one.

  • 7
    0

    mahaweli repeat. son a replica of the father

  • 2
    0

    Looks like the University of Moratuwa has become a good business centre. The original EIA for Colombo port city was done by them and instead of getting another party (Independent)to review the EIA, Yahapalanaya govt, awarded the review EIA also to the university of Moratuwa. who is making these decisions?

  • 2
    0

    Mr President and Prime minister, will you get rid of these monkeys who are jumping parties to swindle poor citizens money. He is currupt , hence throw him out.

  • 0
    0

    It appears a ‘Moottal” has been created from the old block.

    When did the Dissanayake’s ever know a thing called “good governance”?
    Ranil’s ship is sinking and stinking.

  • 1
    0

    It is high time that we gullibles keep a close watch on President Maithripala Sirisena. He came to power mouthing pious promises to rid the country of corruption. But after tasting power, just like his predecessor, he is getting drunk on it.

    Lanka E News has reported just now that Kumarasinghe the younger sibling of the so-called “honest” President, born not in the womb of Sirisena’s mother, has been in London with Lalith de Silva, an ex-CEO of a Telecom Co. with another Tamil Racketeer, owner of a mobile phone chain, to putting through illicit deals to rob billions in due to Sri Lanka Telecom.

    There are also moves to enable Gagan Wegapitiya, soon to be relative of Maithripala, to purchase fighter aircraft which is not required by Sri Lanka, to enable him to fleece Sri Lanka Government of billions in commissions from the seller of the aircraft.

    We gullibles are in deep slumber to the tune of the Yahapalanaya lullabies. It is time to wake up and demand an explanation from our YahapalanaYaka about these allegations pertaining to rob the country by his half brother and also his soon to be relative Air Force Commander.

    What a fuck up for Sri Lanka. Is there any fucking politician in Sri Lanka who can be trusted?

  • 1
    0

    Where are the yapalana apologists?
    Now now, even they cannot justify the conduct of this thakkadi.
    Mahind do what he says.
    These thakkadi say one thing and do the complete opposite!
    People are not fools anymore, they will bring back Mahinda Gota, they are the pioneers of our development drive

  • 1
    0

    High Altitude Centre to train middle and long distance runners is a good idea if we want to win medals in international competitions in those events. The question we should ask is how many such potential athletes will benefit. Is the cost justify the benefits. Talented middle and long distance runners could be sent to Kenya which not only have a training centre but also experienced coaches who were themselves Olympic medalists.

    A trend has developed since athletics became a professional sport and when the Army and Airforce started recruiting 18 year olds and older who have performed at the National level just to compete for them locally and international Defence Games but not work for them. The athletes are paid about Rs.30,000. month to train and compete. They are not given any training that would get them a job to earn a living after they are 34 and their athletic career over and the Forces stop paying them.

    Athletes are treated by the clubs and coaches like race horses or like paper towels in public toilets. Coaches, Associations, Ministry of sports should treat sportspersons as end in themselves and not means to an end. (Emmanuel Kant. “Man is an end in himself and not a means to an end.”)

    If the country can afford, it is best to establish a residential educational institution for all sportspersons who achieve National Level performance in their age groups 13 to 19. And to those who achieve national level in the performance and visual arts in the same age category. They should receive an education that would prepare them for higher studies at Tertiary Level and to learn skills that would prepare them for profitable employment. The institution should have all the playing fields, Indoor Sports and Performing Arts Centres.

    Nuwera Eliya or thereabouts will be the ideal location. But naturally the Institution campus should be in a location that it enhances the environment and not destroy it.
    Hope President Srisena and the new Government will bring such an institution into being.

  • 0
    0

    Please do not destroy/touch Nuwara Eliya. All our water comes from there.

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