- The ICC and SLC are involved in pumping funds to this project
By Sandun A Jayasekera
Cabinet spokesman and Minister Bandula Gunawardhana said the proposal to construct the Diyagama – Homagama international cricket stadium was first brought in 2016 and as such it was incorrect to say that building this sports complex now under the prevailing situation in the country was inappropriate.
Responding to journalists at yesterday’s weekly cabinet news briefing, Minister Gunawardhana said he had to get a lot of flak from the opposition for a good job done.
“When you eat chocolate by a traditional oil mill (sekkuwa) those looking at you will say you eat poonac’ my case is no different, Minister Gunawardhana said sarcastically.
The dialogue between journalists and Minister Gunawardhana ensued as follows.
Is this a private project of yours or a government sponsored one?
No, two local and global institutions, the ICC and SLC are involved in pumping funds to this.
Do you think the construction of this kind of sports complex with a huge amount of money is necessary under the prevailing situation?
Who said this was started today. The project started in 2016. Even former Sports Minister Harin Fernando once mentioned about this and said he would not intend to take it to Badulla as done by certain ministers.
Some say you have started this to boost your political ambitions and it was your brainchild.
I don’t want to get my political clout to get boosted from this kind of things. But I must remind you that the dedicated economic centres crated around the country as the trade minister to benefit farmers as well as consumers, the establishment of the NSB, the only technology University in the country, Mahinda Rajapaksa National school at Homagama, one of the best in the country with over 7,000 students and highest GCE O/L and A/L results and the space technology and aerospace science university to mention a few are my brainchild. In addition, I donate my monthly salary since I came to politics to a fund that helps poor students. It is indecent and unfair to put politicians like us into a basket of black sheep in politics.
Former MP, Udaya Gammanpila has made some comments contrary to what you say.
He has every right to say what he believes.
Why the construction not started yet?
The land, 126 acres have not been legally given to the project.
Do you have a cabinet approval for this?
No, cabinet approval will be granted to allocate the land.
Former Minister Arjuna Ranatunga requests to divert the funds to develop sports in the country.
You have to ask it from the funding agencies, the ICC and SLC.