Connect with us

Opinion

Fully utilize local resources in major construction projects

Published

on

A video on highly factual presentation by Eng. ADS Gunawardena to the President, for the utilization of local expertise in major construction projects, is circulating in the electronic media today. In a somewhat emotional manner, he compares the financial costs involved and the savings that could be incurred when such projects utilize the expertise and physical resources available with the local organizations, particularly in the state sector.

Listening to the presentation, it takes me back to the initial stages of the Mahaweli Project, in the early 1970s. In Stage 1 of the Mahaweli project, State Engineering Corporation was appointed the sub-contractors to the main contractor, Ingra of Yugoslavia. Undisputedly the SEC got the job due to the effort of Chairman Dr. Kulasinghe. Components of the job for the SEC were (1) Barrage at Polgolla (2) Power house at Ukuwela and the draining of Dun Oya beyond the power house, while Ingra did the tunnel. At the beginning of the project, the plant and machinery used were the ones the SEC had from past projects. They initially had to work even with age-old cable cranes and excavators and bulldozers. The new plant and machinery arrived only during the construction stage.. Even when the great engineer Dr. K was compelled to leave the SEC unceremoniously, the project moved on due to the values instilled by him in the workforce. In facing the task, the SEC team worked 24/7 under very difficult conditions, including the big scarcity of food in the country in the 1970s. It was mainly due to the can-do attitude of the workforce, from Engineer to the site supervisor and the skilled workers. It may be worthy to note that at the time there were no flashy cars or expensive four-wheel drive vehicles available, even to the most senior engineer in charge of the project.

When completed, definitely a large sum of money, in scarce foreign exchange, was saved in comparison, if the project was done by a foreign contractor. Further, the experience gained by the local staff in doing such a complex job was immense. Following Polgolla, the next stage of the Mahaweli, Bowatenna dam was also built by the local organization SD & CC.

It is sad that the SEC has now become unheard organization, although it still has top architectural and engineering design arms and the expertise and the logistics in prestressed concrete technology. I believe that the resources of SD & CC are also not fully utilised at present. It will be timely if the President could give directions to fully use the underutilized resources of state organizations, in the present and future major development projects.

GAMINI RANASINGHE
Chartered Engineer
Email: gamini_r@hotmail.com



Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Opinion

Can we return to English medium?

Published

on

B PERERA

Goolbai Gunasehera (GG) wrote in The Sunday Island (June 19) under the caption, “We need to return to the English medium”. When summarizing her long article, my conclusion is that what is necessary is not returning to English Medium of instruction in schools, but improving the teaching of English in schools. In the article she writes “Many of that 16.5 million people barely speak English and the majority certainly cannot read or write it, despite English being taught (appallingly badly) in all schools”, and “I quote from a WhatsApp message I received from a former maid now in Kuwait. She writes, “yers madam iam gud,” in response to my query, “are you well?” She has an O L pass in English. This would be funny if it were not so pathetic”. If the conditions are such, what would be the result if we return to English medium?

We have thousands of Sri Lankans who had their primary/secondary education in Sinhala/Tamil media, employed (even at highest levels) all over the world/in Sri Lanka effectively using not only English, several other world languages as well. Every effort should be taken to improve the ways and methods of teaching English. Another important thing is to encourage all levels of students to read books written in English, as it is not happening now. What Kumar David (KD) queried recently was whether English should be Lanka’s National language (“Should English Be Lanka’s National language?” Sunday Island, June 12), not about medium of education as GG mentions. [That would also be a different issue as KD wrote about (a) Lanka not Sri Lanka].

Continue Reading

Opinion

Irreplaceable Rajapaksas

Published

on

S K MUTHUKUMARA

MP Namal Rajapaksa’s (NR) name was recently mentioned in two instances where his official presence was not required. The most recent was when he appeared with Minister of Power and Energy, Kanchana Wijesekera, when the Minister addressed the press about the fuel crisis. The earlier instance was when Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani, was in Sri Lanka in October, to meet the President and Prime Minister.

Although NR – a Minister at that time – had no connection with the subjects Adani Group is involved in, he had been attending their meetings and involved in other aspects of the Adani visit. Whose interests are looked after by NR and why?

Continue Reading

Opinion

A national strategy to alleviate suffering at fuel queues

Published

on

Dr B. J. C. Perera
MBBS(Cey), DCH(Cey), DCH(Eng), MD(Paed), MRCP(UK), FRCP(Edin), FRCP(Lon), FRCPCH(UK), FSLCPaed, FCCP, Hony FRCPCH(UK), Hony. FCGP(SL)

Specialist Consultant Paediatrician and Honorary Senior Fellow, Postgraduate Institute of Medicine, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The country is in turmoil. In addition to all of the other problems, our people are really suffering at these transport fuel queues. Tempers flare at fuel stations. Undesirable elements, thugs and all kinds of nefarious elements are making hay while the sun shines at these fuel sheds.Enough is enough. Given below are a set of strategies to alleviate this suffering, at lest, to a certain extent, for consideration by the powers-that-be:

Maintain law and order at ALL fuel stations with the help of the police AND the armed forces with a contingent of officers under one higher ranked Commanding Officer at EACH fuel station. All trouble-makers would be promptly dealt with by using minimal force. A few will need to be arrested and dealt with under the laws of the country. If this is instituted without fear or favour, these undesirables will soon disappear.

All fuel stations should be provided with adequate supplies of fuel, starting from 6.00 am, and ALL fuel stations to be kept open 24 hours a day for six days a week. ALL fuel stations will be closed on Sunday from 6.00 am till Monday 6.00 am. The security forces and police should be strictly instructed to prevent any unauthorised issuance of fuel during these times. That will prevent the general public reacting as it is the same for all.

From Monday to Saturday, ALL ambulances will get priority at ALL filling stations at ALL times.On Fridays, SELECTED fuel stations right round the country, will entertain ONLY the four-wheel vehicles of essential services. Two bowsers for petrol and two for diesel to be provided for these selected fuel stations for 24 hours, from 6.00 am. ALL envisaged recipients of fuel for essential services should provide proof of serving in such a service. Times should be allocated to different services as follows:

Healthcare Services

Nurses – 8.00 pm to 10.00 pm

Doctors – 10.00 pm Friday to 02.00 am Saturday

Other healthcare personnel, except Doctors and Nurses – 6.00 pm to 8.00 pm

All other essential services – Suitable times to be allocated within the 24 hours, from 6.00 am Friday to 6.00 am on Saturday, outside the allocations made for the Healthcare Services. Vehicles of police and the armed forces too should be given specified times.

ALL OTHER FILLING STATIONS, NOT INVOLVED IN THESE DEDICATED ESSENTIAL SERVICES PROVISIONS, WILL PROVIDE FUEL TO ALL OTHER PRIVATE VEHICLES AND TRANSPORT VEHICLES, INCLUDING LORRIES.

On Saturdays, from 8.00 am, ALL fuel stations will provide fuel ONLY for vehicles involved in passenger and goods transport, including buses, school buses, school vans, three-wheelers and lorries. These vehicles will not be entertained on any other day.On Mondays and Wednesdays, ALL filling stations will provide fuel to all private vehicles, including three-wheelers and motor cycles with Vehicle Registration Numbers, with an ODD number last digit.On Tuesdays and Thursdays, ALL filling stations will provide fuel ONLY to all private vehicles, including three wheelers and motor cycles, with Vehicle Registration Numbers with an EVEN number last digit. A zero is considered to be an EVEN number.No fuel will be supplied to cans and large containers. Fuel will be pumped only to in situ tanks of vehicles.Of course, all these arrangements will depend entirely on the ability to provide adequate stocks of fuel to the sheds. It is up to the government to make sure that this is done.

IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT THE MINISTER AND THE MINISTRY INSIST ON ALL CEYPETCO AS WELL AS ALL INDIAN OIL COMPANY FILLING STATIONS COMPLY WITH THESE STIPULATIONS. This is the time to use the power that is given to them.

If there are any abusers of these proposals amongst the filling station staff, arrest them, and just seal and close the shed for a few days and they will learn their lessons.

The scheme proposed above is a carefully thought-out strategy. Drastic changes in it will only defeat the purpose for which it was formulated. The writer hopes that the authorities will take note of the contents written with a lot of goodwill.

Continue Reading

Trending