Water Transport Project in “Troubled Water”
Posted on July 7th, 2017

Dr Sarath Obeysekera  

Much awaited canal transport project details are out recently.SLLRDC under Megapoils has issued a  EOI ( Expression of Interest  ) to call interested parties to bid. .Conditions stipulated in the EOI is prepared with the help of  Dutch Assistance ( Grant) ,seems quite stringent .Prospective bidders should submit a 75 million Rupee bond ,which is never heard in EOI bid submission process .Then EOI stipulates that bidders  should have experience in Water Transportation Projects . ( Ebert Silva cannot bid !)

The way whole project is structured so that after evaluation of the EOI submission five companies may be selected and RFP ( Request for Proposals) will be issued. Whole process will take almost 18 months from now before awarding a contract to a successful bidder .

Having experience in boat building ,I can assure you that it will take another year to build 10-20 ,passenger boats which can carry at least 25 passengers in each journey.That means another year added we will  not see the boats in the horizon for next 21/2 years .By that time term of the government may be over ( unless JOC rocks the boat” and next government will sink” the project .

These engineers guiding the Megapolis minister have no clue how fast we need do implement such project due to publicity given .

There was a Pre EOI bid meeting in Waters Edge ( right place next to Diyatha Uyana) where the bidders were charged 2500 rupees ( never heard of it in EOI process –history )

At the meeting a very pertinent question was raised about the rights SLLRDC has under their ACT to run Canal Buses, and one person said it is approved by the Cabinet .SLLRDC wants to be a shareholder under PPP slogan ,but they should amend the act which will take 2 years minimum .There is no EIA ( environment impact assessment ) carried out and it will take another year .

Last pertinent question posed to the Dutch Consultant was about ferocious crocodiles surfing in the Parliament Lake and possible invasion in to Canal system no answer could be given.

After the EOI session all bidders went on a joy ride on navy boats along the Battaramulle –Wellawatte Canal and found two giant crocodlies sun bathing on the banks .( awaiting a prey?)

One participant also noted few flying fish along the canal and amazingly one jumped into the navy boat which was caught for later consumption by the Navy !

I as the ex chairman SLLRDC and CEO of a boat building outfit have many doubts that this project can ever be implemented by Megapolis ( like any other ) unless Honourable Minister throws out EOI ,and call to implement pilot project by Local Boat Builders .

They should simplify the project and call tenders to supply few suitable boats which are protected from Crocodiles ,and run a pilot project to see how it works .

We will be sailing into un know waters full of flying fish and Crocodiles which may be subjected  for a Fauna /Flora lover to go to courts on fundamental rights and boats  may have to be moored permanently as a breeding ground for Dengue Mosquitoes !

If judges can issue a restraining order on Muthurajawela on the ground of adverse environment impact ,under Yahaplanaya someone else living along canal banks will go to courts and ask for redress  ( Engine noise  of boats may also be sited as sound pollution ! nd they are unable to sleep !!)

Finally I would like to propose to implement a project to create a Crocodile Park” next to parliament lake so that opposition can feed the crocodiles  with  failed law makers after three years !)

Dr Sarath Obeysekera

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