• Thu. Apr 18th, 2024

23 UDA projects halted with state funds running dry and due to inter-institutional conflicts

Sectoral Oversight Committee on Environment, Natural Resources & Sustainable Development disclosed that 23 projects initiated by the Urban Development Authority (UDA) by spending government funds have come to a halt currently and that amongst such projects, 11 have been stopped due to inter-institutional conflicts.

The Committee emphasized that in addition to the projects that have stopped due to lack of funds, the main reason for these projects to stop is that there is no good cooperation or agreement between the relevant institutions.

The Sectoral Oversight Committee on Environment, Natural Resources & Sustainable Development which met on the 20th of June 2023 under the Chairmanship of Ajith Mannapperuma, took into consideration the projects which have been initiated by the UDA but have been abandoned due to various reasons thereby making a change in the strategies or existing rules followed in starting and maintaining the projects.

Thus, it was revealed that an amount of Rs.56,388 million has been estimated for 11 projects that have been stopped in the middle due to the problems between the institutions, and although the Urban Development Authority has spent Rs.2,531 million, there are outstanding bills of Rs.14,23 million for further payment.  Also, it was revealed that an amount of Rs.56,999 million rupees is required for the completion of the projects.

Since there are projects that have been stopped due to lack of funds as well as projects that have been stopped due to institutional issues that need to be resolved between various institutions, the committee focused its attention on projects that have been stopped in the middle due to problems between institutions at this Committee meeting held.

The Ceylon Electricity Board, Road Development Authority, National Water Supply and Drainage Board, Sri Lanka Railway Department, and the Prisons Department were called before the Committee, including the Urban Development Authority.

Among the 11 projects that have been stopped due to inter-institutional issues, the construction of the new access road from Kottawa to Mahenawatta, the development of Alavwa town (road widening), the construction of the entrance to Yakkala from the Gampaha highway, the expansion of Imaduwa town, the construction of low-income houses in Beruwanawatta, Aheliyagoda, Hatton The committee considered the development of the railway station and the replacement of the Welikada prison were looked into during the Committee.

Work on the construction of the new access road from Kottawa to Mahenawatta is about 98% completed and the problem of land acquisition has been largely resolved as another place has been proposed for the people who will lose their land and post resolving the remaining issues with the Homagama Divisional Secretary, the project can be given to the Road Development Authority for completion Officials of the Urban Development Authority said.

It was disclosed that the construction of 34 low-income houses in Beruwanavatta, Aheliyagoda, planned to resettle people who will lose their land during the construction of the proposed by-pass instead of the pass through the city, which is very important for the development of Aheliyagoda, has been stopped due to problems in obtaining electricity and water supply for those houses. The Committee instructed since the houses have been completed, to have the projects completed by resolving problems of providing facilities with the Electricity Board and the Ratnapura District Community Water Supply Department and to resolve ownership issues of the land existing between the Railway Department and the Road Development Authority through cooperation between the institutions.

Furthermore, it was revealed before the Committee that although the land acquisition work of the proposed Gampaha Makavita Nelumwila Health Lane Project has been completed, the project has stopped midway. As 13 million has been spent for this purpose, the Committee instructed to carry out urban forestry on this piece of land and use it in the process of increasing forestry in Sri Lanka.

Under the replacement of Welikada prison, the Prisons Department and the Urban Development Authority were instructed that the value of the land where Welikada is currently located should be accurately assessed by the Government Valuation Department, and the money obtained by leasing the existing land or calling for tenders and selling the land should be used to locate the prison on the proposed land in Horana with more space and facilities under approved measurements.

The Committee emphasized that the cost can be covered through the investment received without spending government funds for the relevant project. The Committee also emphasized that by replacing the Welikada prison, the government hopes to use the more valuable Welikada land for other productive investment purposes and to re-establish the prison with more spacious facilities with a large number of funds received.

According to the facts considered, the Committee emphasized that the main reason for the cease of the projects is the lack of good cooperation or agreement between the institutions involved. The recommendation of the Committee was that when starting projects under the limited resources available, a preliminary analysis should be done regarding the social, economic, and environmental impacts and the most beneficial and most important method should be followed. The participating officials were also instructed to follow the instructions and guidance given by the Committee and inform the Committee within 3 weeks of the progress regarding the work of the considered projects.

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