- The Aruwakkalu sanitary landfill project commenced following the shut-down of the Karadiyana Waste Management project
By Sheain Fernandopulle
The Cabinet had decided to award the contract for Design, Supply and Installation Construction of the Municipal Solid Waste Sanitary Landfill Disposal Facility at Aruwakkalu to a Consortium between China Harbour Engineering Company Limited (CHEC) and the Southwest Municipal Engineering and Research Institute of China (SEMEDRIC).
The proposal in this regard was made by the Megapolis & Western Development Minister where it was proposed to allocate 10% of the agreed contract value amounting US$ 9,048,225.92 (Rs. 162,293,621.11) to meet the contingencies arising during the construction, operation and maintenance period, was approved by the Cabinet.
This project itself has been mired in controversy since inception.
It was originally to be a World Bank-funded project to cater to the garbage disposal issue nationwide. It was to also comprise a transfer station in the outskirts of Colombo, to pick up garbage collected in the Western Province and transported by rail to the Aruwakkalu site.
The project envisaged further infrastructure including garbage trucks and other equipment purpose-made for this type of operation also to be funded under the World Bank funding. Originally conceptualized during the time of the previous regime, the Megapolis Ministry adopted the project as a signature project. However, this was where the problems began.
The World Bank pulled out due to the Ministry awarding the contract for the project to a Chinese company.
With it went the funding, and the contractual, due diligence, sustainability and transparency safeguard a WB project would have ensured. Also went the equipment and the rail transfer infrastructure as the Ministry had to now scramble to fund the project on its own and had to cut corners in the project.
The project is complete but without some key infrastructure to make sure that the facility is used and does not become a
As there is no rail transfer, the garbage has to be transported by individual trucks on a round-trip distance of over 300 KM on a road network, which is already congested.
If the CMC garbage alone is transported it will mean approx. 40 to 50 trucks plying this route daily, carrying garbage in trucks which are not specifically designed
for this purpose.
The Aruwakkalu sanitary landfill project commenced following the shut-down of the Karadiyana Waste Management project.
Some claimed it to be the best solution for the garbage issue. But there have been shortcomings since its inception, the Daily Mirror learns.
Although the World Bank agreed to fund the Project, the MOMWD dumped the World Bank project and handed over the contract to the China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd. (CHECC), the same entity that took over the Port City Project.
- The World Bank pulled out due to the Ministry awarding the contract for the project to a Chinese company.
However, at the onset of signing the agreement on December 2017, it was revealed that the CHECC won the USD 100.9 million contract, which included building transfer facilities at Kelaniya and Aruwakkalu in addition to the railway lines to transport garbage daily.
However, the losing bidder M/s Kolon-Hansel-KECC, a South Korean joint venture has questioned CHECC’s eligibility to carry out such a project as the bidder should either have landfill design experience or submit its application with a joint partnership that had such expertise.
Meanwhile, the Court of Appeal recently issued an Interim Order stopping the Vanathavilluva Pradeshiya Sabha and its Chairman from enforcing any fee from the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) during the dumping of garbage at Aruwakkalu.
The Court also gave temporary permission to dump garbage at the site until the case is further heard.
The issue came about when the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development decided to halt the disposal of garbage accumulated within Colombo city limits at the Kerawalapitiya garbage dump.
The ministry made this decision claiming that the facility’s capacity to accommodate garbage had exceeded its limits.