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Sunday, 16 January 2011





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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 Keththarama Stadium.

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.

Keththarama Stadium

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 construction projects?

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 continued uninterruptedly.

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 up.

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 project.

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 present.

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 explain?

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 and development.

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.



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