By Tilakaratne Dissanayake
The proposed Karasnagala water supply project inaugurated in 2016 with much pomp and pageantry has been stalled for a long time. It was to be completed in 2019.
The project was expected to meet the requirement of drinking water in 449 Grama Niladahri areas in five divisions of Gampaha, Attanagalla, Minuwangoda, Mirigama and Mahara in the Gampaha District. Residents of several areas said they were facing hardship for want of drinking water and that the National Water Supply and Drainage Board was not in a position to meet the increasing demand for drinking water. They pointed out that the garden wells in the area had run dry and that the shortage of drinking water had been worsened by the prevailing drought.
When the issue was taken up at the monthly meeting of the District Coordination Committee, Co-Chair of the committee Parliamentarian Harshana Rajakaruna expressed concern about the failure to complete on the due date the project undertaken by a Chinese construction company. He stressed the need to complete the project soon. However, a senior official in charge of the project who explained the cause of the delay said the water towers and the water treatment plants were now being built but the storage reservoir could not be built pending resettlement of the people in the area that would go under the project. Attangalla Divisional Secretary S. P. Gunawardene said land acquisition was going on.
It transpired that former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga had requested the Ministry of Finance to probe the alleged fraud in the project.