President Maithripala Sirisena has expressed regret that a series of problems have arisen during the implementation of the Uma Oya Multi-purpose Development Project as the previous government has hurriedly commenced the project without proper study of the feasibility report and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
He made this remark when the interim report on Uma Oya Project prepared by Norwegian experts was handed to him recently.
The expert Mr. Bent Aagaard said that the preliminary studies had not forecast the possibility of large water seepage in the tunnel and he further said that the machinery used for the project had not been capable of proper strengthening of the tunnel wall and seal them with strong grout materials. Excavation must be done by using suitable machinery on the tunnel wall and grouting all the leaks in the tunnel to ensure that there will be no seepage in the tunnel in the future. He further said that the contractors had not been prepared for large scale water ingress in the tunnel.
The expert was of the view that a better comprehensive preliminary study could have prevented the water ingress into the tunnel leading to a severe water dearth in some areas. The President requested the expert to provide a full report on how the leakage could be completely stopped and the reasons for not taking into the consideration the water leakage in the previous reports.
Secretary to the Ministry of Mahaweli Development & Environment Mr. Udaya R. Seneviratne, the Project Director and the officials of the Norwegian Embassy participated on this occasion.