President Maithripala Sirisena had served as the Polonnaruwa Cricket Association President for 14 years and constructing a cricket stadium there was his dream.
The former President of SLC Thilanga Sumathipala as promised, after 19 years had obtained a land in 1998 belonging to the Hingurakgoda Government Farm of 45 acres for the construction of this stadium and had laid the foundation stone for it in the first quarter of 2017.
The construction was implemented in three stages and was scheduled to be completed by May 24, 2018, but as the construction was not completed it was not possible.
The President had said at that point that if the funds allocated was insufficient, he could allocate more funds from the Pibidemu Polonnaruwa fund which has an allocation of Rs. 20 billion. However, an SLC official had said that the funds allocated for the project was sufficient.
Expressing his views the Executive member of the Polonnaruwa Cricket Association and Executive Member of the new stadium Chinthaka Pushpakumara said, the construction is not according to standard and there is no permanent contractor. The materials bought for the grounds has been sold to outsiders. But, there is no one to tell these issues to. The contractor is doing a big scam and the money allocated has been played out.”
Kamal Dharmasiri of SLC said, “we called for applications for the contract and we received around 20 applications. Of them we chose 04 and allocated various constructions around the country. This was how the contractor was allocated for the Polonnaruwa project.
The supervision of the project was done by the CCB engineers. All we have to do is to pay the bills. We have now paid around Rs. 24 million so far.”
A CCB official, when contacted said, “All we had to do was supervise the construction when the contractor was not present. We work under the main contractor who also has to pay us. The contractor is using our name and cheating.”
However the contractor said they had not been paid on time by SLC and as a result we were unable to pay the workers and for the vehicles. “That is why we had to sell the sand and get the money to pay the workers.”
The residents in the area say that if such scams are happening in the President’s own area, one can only imagine the scale of corruption in the rest of the country.
Pics by W.A. Piyatillake- Hingurakgoda Corr.