Sunday observer PLUS
Plays key role in constructing World Cup stadia:
State Engineering Corp shines again
President Rajapaksa with Sports Minister Mahindananda
Aluthgamage and SEC Chairman Prof. Ashu Marasingha at the
The past glory of State Engineering Corporation (SEC) during the
Kulasingha era will be brought back soon. A great responsibility lies
with the SEC to develop the country under the leadership of President
Mahinda Rajapaksa, said SEC Chairman, Prof. Ashu Marasingha in an
exclusive interview with the Sunday Observer.
Prof. Marasingha an old Anandian and an IT graduate of the Colombo
University completed his IT and engineering post graduate studies in
Nagaoka university of Technology in Neegatha Japan.
He joined the academic staff of the International University of Japan
after the completion of his MSc and was appointed professor later.
Subsequently he accepted the post of Chairman - SEC last May in
response to a request from President Rajapaksa for Sri Lankans abroad to
return to serve the motherland.
The excerpts of the interview:
Q: Many people including the International Cricket Board
expressed their doubts whether Pallekale International Cricket Stadium
and Keththarama International Cricket Stadium projects could be
completed before the target date. How far have you progressed in the two
Prof. Ashu Marasingha
A: The Sri Lanka Cricket Board - our client gave us a time
frame of 300 days to complete the two projects. The completion of such a
huge project estimated to cost over Rs.2 billion within 300 days is not
an easy task. However due to the efficiency of Sri Lankan engineers and
the commitment of the workers the Keththarama and Pallekale projects
have been completed, enabling the Sri Lanka cricket Board to hold the
International cricket tournament in Sri Lanka as envisaged despite
natural constraints such as incessant rains the construction work
Q: You will recall that the Public Enterprises Reform
Commission (PERC) sometime ago recommended that the operations of the
SEC should be wound up. Today the SEC carries a huge load of work in
fulfilling its responsibility under the forward march policy of the
government. Could you elaborate this?
A: The important role played by engineers, planners,
architects, draughtsmen and skilled workers in achieving the country’s
developmental goals needs no exaggeration. The SEC under its pioneer Dr.
Kulasingha gave leadership to engineers, and skilled workers in the
country. Subsequent developments which were not in the interest of the
Corporation led the PERC to recommend that its operation should be wound
The SEC was given lease of life in the context of the country’s
developmental effort under the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa
and the guidance of Construction, Engineering services and Housing
Minister Wimal Weerawansa.
Q: Year - 2011 has been declared the year of ‘Janasevena’ what
is the role assigned to SEC by your Ministry to achieve the set targets.
Construction Minister Wimal Weerawansa with Sports Minister and
SEC Chairman at the Keththarama Stadium.
A: This year is important for us. Today there is peace
throughout the country after the defeat of the LTTE terrorism. We should
not miss this golden opportunity to develop the country.
The developed countries such as Japan, Korea, Germany managed their
resources wisely in fulfilling their development priorities. Political
stability and peace are vital for development.
All resources should be mobilized to develop the country.
The Janasevana program was launched to provide houses to the
homeless. The National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) has
identified that the country currently needs one million houses.
NHDA has also found suitable land in Colombo and in provincial cities
such as Kandy, Matara, Galle, Kilinochchi for new housing projects.
Q: During the past couple of years most of the housing schemes
launched by the government were for the middle class and the lower
middle class. What are the housing schemes planned under the Janasevena
A: Minister Wimal Weerawansa’s concept is that the government
should handle the housing needs of all segments of the society. He has
introduced “One to One” concept where the earnings from selling houses
to the upper class rich people will be used to provide houses for law
income groups. The preliminary work in this regard is in progress at
Q: Apart from building construction, what are the other
services provided by the SEC.
A: Consultancy, construction, construction components,
mechanical and electrical engineering services are services undertaken
by the SEC.
SEC is the only organisation in Sri Lanka which was awarded ISO
9001-2000 certificate for construction, consultancy, construction
components and mechanical and electrical engineering services.
Inland Revenue Department Head Office.
SEC which was set up in January 1962 completes 50 years next year. At
present over 400 professionals including engineers, draughtsmen
technicians and electricians are in the corporation’s permanent staff.
The workforce is over 10,000. The corporation’s activities will not
confirm to construction but all engineering activities, since our vision
is to become the premier engineering enterprise in Sri Lanka.
Q: In the recent past the SEC handled only a few government
contracts. What does the future hold for the Corporation?
A: The SEC is not confined only to government contracts. We
have already tendered for multimillion contracts.
The SEC undertook projects approved by the Cabinet. Recently we have
tendered for the construction of Toll Gates and Toll buildings in the
southern expressway. It is a Rs.1,029 million project to build 11 Toll
Gates and the Toll buildings at the interchanges construction of Toll
Gates and Toll buildings in the southern high way which runs from
Kottawa to Matara should be completed by six months.
Q: You have stressed the importance of research and
development for the engineering and construction sector. Would you
A: Research and Development is essential in the interest of
the construction industry. Countries such as Japan, India, China and
Germany have reached such technological heights due to advanced research
Sri Lanka should give top priority for the construction sector.
Veteran Sri Lankan Engineer A.N.S. Kulasingha was regarded in South
Asia as father of prefabricated concrete techniques.