People are compelled to pay high taxes due to massive expenditure incurred by the previous government to beautify the Colombo City and its suburbs, Megapolis and Western Province Development Minister Champika Ranawaka said yesterday.
Speaking at a ceremony to mark the opening of a newly renovated bus station in Gampaha, the Minister said: The funds of the Urban Development Authority funds were meant for covering expenses in providing infrastructure facilities for people. “If I spent 900 Rs. million from UDA funds to build a memorial for my late father the public would not benefit. People today are burdened with a huge cost of living because of the taxes they are compelled to pay. Those taxes have been imposed to cover the expenses by the previous regime.
“We started building the Security forces headquarters in Pelawatte. It would be second only to the Pentagon in the US. Rs 62,000 million has already been spent on it already. We started funding the project by selling off a land near the Galle Face Green for Rs 8,000 million. By now we have spent more than eight times of the estimated cost. The funds were channeled using a name of a person, who involved as an architect of this project. According to the contract, the architect was entitled to fee amounting to five present of the cost of the project. He earned a lot and purchased walawwas, built offices in Oruwala and Gampaha. That is not development. Several more generations in future would have to pay for the expenses the previous government made.
“Those who are now in the opposition boast that they built Colombo. What they did? For example, they constructed the Independence arcade. They built a huge fish tank there. The glass alone cost Rs 650 million. An opening ceremony was held by bringing actors and actresses from India at a cost of Rs 500 million.
“When we took over the UDA’s outstanding loans were at Rs 39,000 million. Now we have to pay those loans,” the Minister said.