By Sandun A. Jayasekera
Minister of Youth Affairs and Skills Development Dulles Alahapperuma said it was regrettable and a matter of shame that the development of the construction industry has been stunted due to corruption and quality failure while other countries have shown tremendous progress in this sector.
Addressing a ceremony held after laying the foundation stone to start work on the construction of a swimming pool at the Dikwella Vijitha Maha Vidyalaya, Minister Alahapperuma went on to say that no public construction could be carried out in Sri Lanka without greasing the palms of several officials at various stages.
“This has become the norm in the construction industry in the third world and Sri Lanka in particular, weakening a highly important sector that holds the potential to contribute to economic progress in a big way. If Sri Lanka’s industrial sector was not able to get rid of this negative and distressing trend, the construction industry in the country was doomed to failure,” the Minister said.
He said it was a common sight for people to witness the hundreds of abandoned or discarded newly constructed buildings in all parts of the country.
“They are still to be opened or have been recently opened but already abandoned and in a neglected condition. We can find hundreds of buildings in this state all over the country costing billions of rupees of State funds to construct them. This is because the contractor has to pay bribes at various stages after which his concern is not to finish the construction of a good quality building but to save his skin by handing over a low quality building to the authorities.
This happens in any construction, be it road development, construction of a housing scheme or a high rise building,” the Minister lamented.
He pleaded with those who undertook to construct the swimming pool to not engage in this sinful act but to hand over a high quality product to the school.
The Minister requested the contractor to spend the full estimated cost of Rs. 300 million on the construction of the swimming pool and finish the job in six months and not pay a single cent to any one as a bribe.