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Ruwanpura Expressway Phase I: Four local companies finalised?  

  • RDA sources alarmed over tender conditions 

 

Four different local companies have been finalised by the Ministry of Highways to award the contracts for the construction of four sections of Phase I of the long-delayed Ruwanpura Expressway in adherence to the tender conditions, The Sunday Morning learnt.

It is learnt that the Ministry is likely to seek approval of the Cabinet of Ministers for the finalised companies, prior to awarding the contracts within the next two weeks. 

Earlier, it was revealed that Maga had submitted the lowest bids which are even lower than the engineering estimates of the project. 

A highly informed source at the Road Development Authority (RDA) confirmed to The Sunday Morning that Maga’s bids were the lowest and that it was lower than 25% of the estimates submitted by the engineers. 

However, it was also revealed that according to the tender conditions, one company could bid only for one section of the entire expressway project, but Maga had submitted bids for all four sections. It was also revealed that if the RDA goes ahead with the awarding of the tenders as per the tender conditions, the Government is likely to incur a loss of around Rs. 10 billion from the entire project, as the bids submitted by other companies were not even close to the bids submitted by Maga Engineering, The Sunday Morning learnt. 

When queried as to whether the chosen companies had even matched the prices submitted by Maga, a high-ranking official of the RDA said that such price matching had not been conducted. 

He said that the proposals were now being finalised by the Ministry of Highways and that the process had been expedited, considering the delay faced by the project during the past few years. 

However, as learnt by The Sunday Morning, the funds for the project had not yet been finalised and the estimates were to be done after concluding the tender process. 

Last year, the Cabinet officially removed the Chinese contractor from Section I of the Ruwanpura Expressway Project (REP), which extends from Kahathuduwa to Ingiriya, and decided to go ahead with local funding. As confirmed by Ministry of Highways Secretary Ranjith Premasiri, the local funds are to be raised through state banks, while the Ministry of Highways is yet to lay out a mechanism for funding purposes. 

The proposed Ruwanpura Expressway from Kahathuduwa to Pelmadulla via Ratnapura connects the Western Province with the Sabaragamuwa Province. The project from Kahathuduwa to Ratnapura to Pelmadulla (73.9 km) has been divided into three phases for implementation purposes. Phase I extends from Kahathuduwa to Ingiriya (24.3 km), Phase II from Ingiriya to Ratnapura (26.2 km), and Phase III from Ratnapura to Pelmadulla (21.4 km). 

However, when contacted by The Sunday Morning, RDA Chairman Chaminda Athaluwage noted that the entire process of choosing contractors is being carried out by the Ministry of Highways and that the RDA was not yet informed about the final decision. 

In the meantime, a highly informed official of the Ministry of Highways noted that no final decision has been taken regarding the contractors either.  

He said that the bids are still being evaluated.