“Construction of Ruwanpura Expressway temporarily stopped due to economic crisis”
Transport, Highways and Mass Media Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardena said in Parliament yesterday that the construction of the Ruwanpura Expressway had to be temporarily suspended due to the economic crisis.
The Minister said this while answering an oral question raised by Gampaha District SJB MP Ajith Manapperuma regarding the Ruwanpura Expressway.
He said that no matter who started this project, it is a very good project and it is only a temporary suspension because of the lack of money.
The Minister further said that most of the projects were carried out by obtaining various loans both domestically and abroad. But this project had to be stopped due to the economic downturn.
“In this regard, a large number of people have been prejudiced when giving lands for the lands acquired from them for the project. A large number of MPs have also intervened for this issue. The contractors have also demanded compensation,” the Minister said.
“So far, compensation has been paid for 365 plots of land. Compensation is still to be paid for 2,545 plots of land. We cannot continue this project as no more money can be found for it. Compensation for the damaged lands has also been arranged. The owners have already been given permission to cultivate the lands where construction has been stopped, through the intervention of the divisional secretaries,” Minister Dr. Gunawardena said.
MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara proposed that the Government announces that the construction activities of the Expressway have been suspended temporarily and will continue in the near future, for it would be a great relief for the people in Ratnapura and its suburbs.
MP W.D.J Seneviratne said that measures have already been taken to establish an International Gem Trading Centre in Ratnapura. The Ruwanpura Expressway and the Gem Trading Centre are combined projects because a proper transportation system is essential to attract international gem traders. So he urged the Government not to suspend the project and recommence its construction soon after the country recovers from the present financial crisis.
MP Janaka Wakkumbura also urged the Government to continue the project considering the difficulties faced by the people in Ratnapura.
MP Thalatha Athukorala asked the Minister to announce whether the Government would continue the project or not, saying that the project was initiated during the Yahapalana regime.
Announcements by Speaker
Parliament convened yesterday at 9.30 am and the following announcements were made by the Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana.
The Speaker informed the House that in accordance with the provisions of Article 65(5)(c) of the Constitution, Dhammika Dasanayake, who held the position of Secretary General of Parliament, retired from the said position with effect from May 23, 2023. The Speaker also presented the letter received from Dasanayake dated May 17, 2023 to Parliament.
The Speaker also announced that in accordance with the provisions of Article 65(1) of the Constitution, the President has appointed the Chief of Staff and Deputy Secretary General of Parliament, Kushani Anusha Rohanadeera as Secretary General of Parliament from May 23, 2023.
The Speaker also announced to the House that in terms of Standing Order 113(2), he has nominated the following Co-opted Members to serve in the Legislative Standing Committee for the consideration of the Bill entitled ‘Sri Lanka Institute of Taxation (Incorporation) (Amendment).
Accordingly, Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, Anupa Pasqual, Ashok Abeysinghe, B.Y.G. Rathnasekara, Charles Nirmalanathan, Jagath Kumara Sumithraarachchi, Rajika Wickramasinghe and Samanpriya Herath have been nominated to the said Committee.
The Speaker also announced that in terms of Standing Order No. 113(2), he has nominated the following Members of Parliament as the Co-opted Members to serve in the Legislative Standing Committee for consideration of the Bill entitled ‘Kelaniya Buddhist Women’s Charitable Society (Incorporation)’.
“Select Committee to probe fraud and corruption in cooperative system”
Transport, Highways and Mass Media Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardena said in Parliament yesterday that due to fraud and corruption, the cooperative banking system and the cooperative system have collapsed to a large extent today, and he proposes to appoint a Select Committee to find solutions to the situation in the cooperative business.
The Minister stated this while replying to an oral question addressed by Parliamentarian Buddhika Pathirana regarding the cooperative banking system.
He also said that a situation has arisen where many innocent people have even lost their deposits. The Minister also said that since the cooperative system comes under the Provincial Councils, it should not be handed over to the Minister or the Ministry alone.
“A Select Committee should be appointed and a comprehensive investigation should be done. Otherwise, don’t just hand it over to the Minister and the Ministry. This is a Provincial Council subject. PC members sometimes do not come to meetings. These orders are not obeyed. Therefore, the Provincial Councils have a responsibility to look into the situation for the sake of the cooperative movement in the country.”