Norwegian expert submits interim report on Uma Oya Project

Norwegian expert Bent Aagaard submitted the interim report on the Uma Oya Multi-purpose Development Project to President Maithripala Sirisena at the President’s Official Residence in Colombo on Friday.

President Maithripala Sirisena said at the occasion that many problems had arisen during the implementation of the Uma Oya Multi-purpose Development Project as the previous government had hurriedly commenced the project without calling for a proper feasibility report and a Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

“The mistakes were done from the beginning and we are attempting to rectify them and ensure that the project would not create any issues in the future, the President said.

The expert said the preliminary studies had not forecast the possibility of large water seepage in the tunnel. He said the machinery used were not capable of strengthening the tunnel wall and seal them with strong grout materials.

“Excavation must be done with suitable machinery on the tunnel to ensure that there will be no seepage in the tunnel in the future,” the expert said. He said the contractors had not prepared for large scale water ingress in the tunnel.

The expert said special grout materials and machinery should be used for tunnelling remaining four and half Km as a part of it is below the residential areas.

Aagaard said a comprehensive preliminary study could have prevented the water ingress that resulted in a severe water shortage in some areas.

The President requested the expert to provide a full report with his recommendations that help stop completely the leakage. The President asked him to provide the reasons for not taking into the consideration the water leakage in the previous reports.

The President said mega scale projects should not be commenced without proper studies. He said Uma Oya problems are lessons for the future.

Expert advice would be sought to implement the next project that comprises tunnelling of 22 Km, the President said.

Mahaweli Development and Environment Ministry Secretary Anura Dissanayake, the Project Director and the Norwegian Embassy officials participated.

(Dailynews)