Lotus Tower falls under the microscope

Published : 9:36 am  July 21, 2015 | No comments so far |  |  (2845) reads | 

twer1By Rumana Razick
The report on the Lotus Tower project compiled by a special committee appointed by the president is to be released next week. Discussions are also being conducted regarding the amount of compensation payable to the Ports Authority land acquired for the second stage of the project.

Once completed, the tower at a height of 350 metres, would  be the tallest building in Sri Lanka. It was in the limelight last month due to the controversy surrounding the safety standards of its passenger lifts and compensatory payments due to the Ports Authority.
However despite the ongoing review the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) has continued with its construction and the tower now stands at a height of 255.3 metres. It was also found that to date a total investment of Rs. 13 billion has been made on the project with the EXIM Bank of China investment standing at Rs 5 billion with the TRC investing Rs 8 billion.

Speaking to Daily Mirror TRC Director General M.M. Zuhair said that the committee is looking into some of the concerns raised last month regarding the speed and safety standards of the passenger lifts and escalators. Zuhair said that they would  be making a public announcement on its decision once the review is completed.
Meanwhile the company chosen for the construction of the lifts and escalators, Fujitec Lanka (pvt) Limited, said that they are continuing to invest in the project and are awaiting the committee report.


Report to be released next week


Fujitec Director C. P. Guhashanka said that all their technical standards and design comply with globally renowned safety norms and are offered at a comparatively lower price. He also said that they have already invested in the designs and plans of the project.
Explaining the misconceptions on the amounts due to the Ports Authority, Zuhair said that the initial agreement was to pay only the costs incurred by the Urban Development Authority (UDA) in transferring the land to the TRC and on land improvements made by the Ports Authority. However he said that they are now requesting for the market value of the land in compensation payments.

“The government has no objection in giving the land to us. The disagreement is on the compensation payable to the authority. We cannot afford the market value of the land as it was not a part of our budget. Doing so will lead to a financial crisis in the TRC. There has been a slight delay in the decision making process because of the elections. However we are optimistic it will be resolved,” he said. The 2.5 acre Ports Authority land together with lands acquired from the Postal Department and Railway Department are to be used to construct a leisure park with restaurants, rest rooms and other public facilities under stage two of the project.


Sequel to allegations of malpractices


“We have included the leisure park so that both the public and tourists can enjoy themselves when they visit the tower. Once the tower is nearing its completion we will commence constructing the park,” he said.
He said that the tower would not be completed as scheduled but towards the latter part of next year.

The tower will provide facilities for 50 television service providers, 50 broadcast service providers and 10 communication providers.
Eighty-five per cent of the USD 104.3 million project is being funded by the EXIM bank of China while the remaining fifteen per cent is being funded by the TRC.