Over priced items imported under the Iranian Govt. loan for rural electrification project
By Ifham Nizam
Nearly Rs 10 billion worth of poor quality machinery, tools, equipment and devices imported for the rural electrification project have been idling at the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) Central Stores in Kolonnawa, for the past couple of years. The wastage comes to light amidst plans to pump billions of rupees to speed up an ambitious village lighting programmes Ceylon Today reliably learns that of the nearly 91 items lying idle, some 80 items brought under the Iranian Government loan, had not only cost more in rupee terms when compared with local market prices, but were also inferior in quality.
A CEB official who did not wish to be identified, but supported his claims with documents of the transactions, said the transaction done in EURO terms, had costs the government almost double on most of the items.
He said that under the rural electrification programme, other than the concrete pillars, every other element, including bolts and nuts, had come from Iran. “Most of these parts and equipments do not meet CEB or Euro specifications and the bulk of these products were good for nothing,” he added.
According to Power and Energy Ministry officials all these products had been imported through a company named SUNIR –Iran Power and Water Equipment and Services Export Company, under the Rural Electrification Project that was scheduled to be completed by the end of this year.
When contacted, a senior CEB official who is also a Board Member, but did not wish to be named confirmed that most of the transformers numbering about 1,000, were substandard in quality. However, he said steps were being taken to give them to a local company to put in order or make necessary adjustments.
“Corrosion and oil leaks in most of the products while being brought here were the biggest issues,” a senior engineer, who also did not wish to be identified, said.
A CEB top official, admitting that the substandard goods were a problem, said they have to handle the issue very carefully, as the Iranian Government is assisting Sri Lanka in several other projects, apart from supplying crude oil to the country.