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New Kelani Bridge: Sri Lanka benefits from direct technology transfer



Project saw equal involvement of both Japanese and Sri Lankan engineers

by Sanath Nanayakkare

The new bridge across the Kelani river at Peliyagoda – the first extradosed bridge built in Sri Lanka – which is set to be opened soon, saw equal involvement of both Japanese and Sri Lankan engineers, facilitating sustainable technology transfer to Sri Lankan professionals and sub-contracting Sri Lankan companies, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) told the media recently.

“Notably, the project team from Road Development Authority (RDA) – the implementing agency for the Project employed women at professional and management levels, at equal pay as men. The total number of women employed was low compared to the number of men, but Sri Lankan women held key positions such as Project Director from Road Development Authority, and as site engineers and quantity surveyors, thus enabling a direct transfer of technological know-how to Sri Lankan women professionals as well. That was a key feature of this project,” JICA said.

“During the implementation period, the Project team had to face extreme floods, the tragedy of Easter explosions, and the recent global pandemic. Yet they held together, adapting to the situations and adopting innovative measures to secure the safety of project personnel as well as the neighboring communities. Through their determination and teamwork, the project could be completed with the minimum delay despite the gravity of the issues they faced, “JICA said.

Elaborating on the Joint Venture (JV) JICA further said: “The project financed through an Official Development Assistance loan from JICA connects the Orugodawatte and Ingurukade Intersections with the Colombo-Katunayake expressway, enabling seamless flow of traffic – especially for cargo – between Port, Airport and cargo terminals,” they said.

“Environmental and Social Considerations crucial elements in the projects were also financed by JICA. The loan conditions mandate compliance with not only the country regulations, but also the requirements of JICA’s guidelines. In the project, the environmental impact assessment and the resettlement action plan were prepared well in advance, so that the findings and requirements of both were integrated into project design. The project contributed to the improvement of air and water quality in the project area and restoration of bio diversity in the river banks.”

“On social considerations, the project enabled 320 non-titled householders relocated from the river reservation to begin new lives and livelihoods in new homes which they now own.”

“The extradosed design enabled the bridge to span the entire width of the river without a single pier in the water. The bridge approach viaducts of steel box girders were assembled in-situ (in the original place), which is another first in Sri Lanka. This technique enabled space saving and minimum obstruction to traffic at a heavily congested road section.”

“While the technology itself is remarkable, even more so was that it was implemented with equal involvement of both Japanese and Sri Lankan engineers, enabling sustainable transfer of technology.” JICA said.

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ESOFT Metro Campus holds Graduation Ceremony 2021



Dr. Dayan Rajapakse – Chairman and Managing Director of the ESOFT Group (Right) presenting a certificate to a graduate

The Annual Graduation Ceremony of ESOFT Metro Campus was held at the Bandaranaike International Memorial Hall (BMICH) on the 23rd and 24th of November 2021. A total of 1,800 students graduated at this year’s event. Successful students received their Pearson BTEC Higher National Diplomas, Pearson Level 7 Qualifications, London Metropolitan University (UK) Degrees and MBA’s, Kingston University (UK) Degrees and MSc’s.

It was held across two days and split into 9 sessions, to be in full compliance with health guidelines. In addition to the conferring of degrees, batch tops were awarded gold medals and special awards were made to the top achievers of the programmes.

Keynote addresses were by an eminent group of academics and industry leaders including Mr. Conard Dias CEO, LOLC Finance PLC, Mr. Thushera Kawdawatta – CEO, Axiata Digital Labs, Dr. Dayan Rajapakse – Chairman and Managing Director of the ESOFT Group, Dr. Sampath Wahala – Chairman, Sri Lanka Accreditation Board, Mr. Tishan Subasinghe – Managing Director and joint Managing Partner Moore Stephens Consulting (Pvt) Ltd and Moore Stephens Aiyar, Prof. A.A.C Abeysinghe – M.Phil. PhD Programme Coordinator, Senior Lecturer Faculty of Management & Finance, University of Colombo.

Foreign delegates from the University Partners were present virtually and delivered their speeches and wishes for the graduates via video. The Virtusa careers team were also present on both days in order to provide career opportunities to the young and successful graduates. ESOFT prides itself in producing graduates who are work-ready and able to take on the challenges and opportunities presented by the new economy.

ESOFT has a rich history of 21 years and is the largest private sector higher education network in Sri Lanka, and offers a variety of programmes through an extensive island-wide network of over 40 branches and serves over 40,000 learners each year in a range of programmes from school leaver courses to postgraduate programmes.

ESOFT partnered with Kingston University London in 2012 to offer undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in engineering and soon established a dedicated College of Engineering in Katubedda. In 2013, they partnered with London Metropolitan University to offer a range of programmes leading to undergraduate and postgraduate awards in Computing, Business, Hospitality, and Travel & Tourism. A range of MSc programmes in IT and an International Doctoral programme for IT, Science and Engineering research areas, has also been introduced via Kingston University.

The ESOFT Group has won local and international awards from Pearson (UK), BCS (UK), NBQSA, National Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Chambers of Commerce of Sri Lanka in recognition of their academic excellence and business performance. Their pinnacle accomplishment was to be recognized by the Sri Lankan Government as a Non-state Degree Awarding Institution in 2019.

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Coconut industry products raking in forex to the tune of $ 7000 yearly – State Minister



By Steve A. Morrell

Earnings from exporting coconut products amounted to $ 7000 annually. Such exports include jaggery and treacle, which are key products relating to the coconut industry, State Minister of Coconut, Kithul and Palmyrah Cultivation Promotion Arundika Fernando said.

Although coconut, as part of the plantation industry, was not given due recognition, it was now a distinct contributor to forex earnings and was of significant importance to the economy of the country, Fernando said.

The State Minister added: “Development of the coconut plantations includes value addition promotion to its various products, which are now key to sustaining the coconut plantations.

“Such development included propagation of 600,000 nursery plants for distribution among smallholders and large-scale plantations to add further progress to the industry. As a result, the coconut industry is part of the mainstream economy.

“The coconut industry made a substantial financial contribution to the economy of the country. Value addition in all products was key to development. Coconut products, used extensively in allied local industries, were contributors to value addition. This is efficiently handled by the private sector.

“Collaboration with the Jaffna University was on-going to develop kitul and palmyrah.

“Soil testing and further inputs were envisaged for development.

“Export markets would include Europe, Canada and the US. This is particularly true of kitul treacle and jaggery. Value of these exports would reach approximately $ 2 million.”

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INSEE Cement’s 360-Degree Approach Eases Cement Shortage in Sri Lanka



Operating at maximum production capacity with optimized distribution channels for a number of weeks, INSEE Cement has successfully helped to mitigate the cement shortage that was prevailing in the local market. INSEE Cement’s concentrated and immediate contingency measures across its entire operation at the onset of the shortage ensured an uninterrupted market supply of cement, while also logging a record-high 700,000 MT production output during the third quarter of 2021 for the company.

“As Sri Lanka’s leading cement manufacturer, INSEE Cement took on the responsibility to ensure the local construction industry’s post-COVID-19 revival remained on its trajectory,” stated Gustavo Navarro, Chief Executive Officer at INSEE Cement Sri Lanka. “We continued to fully support government regulations and industrial policies to first stabilize the market, and were able to deploy our island-wide distribution and dealership network to ensure an uninterrupted supply across the island. The loyalty and patience of our customers gave us that extra encouragement we needed to overcome the challenge.”

INSEE Cement operates at a 3.6MT maximum capacity, with a 1.5MT production at the Galle plant, a 1.3MT output from the Puttalam facility and a 0.8MT import capacity at the Colombo Cement Terminal. To mitigate the shortage the company introduced two more additional import vessels to its logistics operation to accelerate production and distribution cycles.



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