Connect with us


Cabinet approves Rs 566mn tyre tender despite concerns by engineers



The Cabinet has approved a Rs. 566 million tender to supply tyres to the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) despite a technical evaluation committee (TEC) finding that the product sold by the winning bidder had deviated from a multitude of fixed, predetermined specifications.

The order, equivalent to the SLTB’s four-month requirement for tyres, has been granted to M/s Ferentino Tyre Corporation (Pvt) Ltd, according to official documents seen by the Sunday Times.

The company is owned by controversial businessman Nandana Lokuwithana. In 2017, he secured a sweetheart deal from the Yahapalana Government to set up his factory, including a massive discount on the lease premium on 100 acres of land in Horana and sweeping tax concessions.

Ferentino’s competitor for the bid, M/s CEAT Kelani International Tyres (Pvt) Ltd, was rejected as its price package was around 15 per cent higher and because it did not comply with two technical requirements to meet the SLTB’s expectations. The latter is related to the “minimum load capacity” of one type of tyre; and the “minimum expected guaranteed mileage” of all four tyre sizes.

CEAT subsequently went to the Procurement Appeals Board (PAB) countering that the successful bidder, Ferentino, had secured the tender based on “untested/unproven mileage” and that this was “totally against the bid evaluation procedure and good governance practices”. It urged the PAB to reassess the evaluation process.

The PAB, however, rejected CEAT’s appeal and upheld the Highways Ministry Secretary’s decision to award the tender to Ferentino. It maintained that, where CEAT had failed, the selected bidder offered a tyre type that met the SLTB’s requirements on load capacity and minimum guaranteed mileage. CEAT had offered less guaranteed mileage on all four tyre sizes in contrast to Ferentino, it also said.

The Cabinet subsequently approved Ferentino’s bid. But there are now concerns in transport circles about a number of crucial technical specifications that the winning bidder had itself departed from–and the possibility that this could impact negatively on public safety.

For instance, the three-member TEC has found the Ferentino’s tyre of size 7.50 x 16 deviated from the required overall diameters ordered by SLTB.

In samples provided by Ferentino, the “load capacity double” of this tyre also fell below the weight required by SLTB. (“Load capacity double” refers to how much weight one tyre is rated to carry when paired with another).

The groove depths of these tyres were several millimetres lower than the SLTB specifications. More critically, in one out of the three Ferentino tyre samples that engineering staff inspected, the tyre number–which is indicative of the date of manufacture and must be stamped on the date the product is made–was “unclear”.

“We, therefore, recommend that the stock of 7.50 x 16 tyres do not conform to the Sri Lanka Transport Board specifications as per the samples we have tested,” the TEC holds.

In tyre size 8.25 x 20, the SLTB ordered an outer diameter of the tyres to be 988mm. The three inspected samples had outer diameters of 970, 962 and 968mm each, the TEC observes, adding that this stock of tyres also did not conform to SLTB requirements.

The tyre size 9.00 x 20 had a more serious problem, the TEC holds, indicating that the manufacturing date had been tampered with.

“While the tyre numbers of these tyres are very clearly marked, it is clear that after the production of the tyre, rubber has been applied on the spot and the number marked on top of it,” its report says. “The tyre number should be recorded during the production process. The production year and week of production of a tyre can be known through this number. If the number is printed later, there is a problem in determining the age of the tyre.” This stock is also deemed by the TEC to be outside of SLTB specifications.

In tyre size 1000 x 20, the tyre numbers of two out of three samples were unclear and the outer diameters as well as depth of the tyre treads were lower than ordered. The stock is held to have deviated from SLTB requirements.

Despite these issues, SLTB Chairman S.M.D.L.K.D. Alwis in July defended the tender award to Ferentino and revealed that the company had already started supplying the tyres. He admits in a letter seen by the Sunday Times that engineers who inspected the products had highlighted the shortcomings.

“But considering the current tyre crisis in SLTB and the need to speedily put 175 buses on the road under the project of rehabilitating 400 buses, I give approval to accept 1,032 tyres while notifying the relevant company to correct the minor defects in the parameters indicated by the technical reports and to re-manufacture the tyres,” he states.



Finalize on plantation workers’ wage before Dec. 31 – President




President Ranil Wickremesinghe advised the leaders of plantation companies to engage in a collective agreement concerning the wage hike for plantation workers, aiming for a minimum of Rs. 1700, as per their request. 

Alternatively, they were urged to reach a consensus on the increased wage amount before December 31st.

This guidance was imparted during a discussion held at the Presidential Secretariat this morning (08), where the President met with the heads of plantation companies. The purpose of the meeting was to explore how regional plantation companies could align their programs with the agricultural modernization initiative outlined in this year’s budget.

The conversation also delved into the program designed to grant land rights to plantation workers. President Ranil Wickremesinghe expressed his intention to establish committees for future work, proposing one committee to address the housing needs of plantation workers and another to represent the interests of both workers and plantation companies.

Emphasizing his confidence in an export-oriented economy for the country’s economic development, President Wickremesinghe stressed the collective contribution needed to ensure the success of the agricultural modernization program. He highlighted the growing demand for food due to the increasing population of Asian countries and urged the country’s export economy to prepare for this reality.

The event, attended by Minister of Labour and Foreign Employment Promotion Mr. Manusha Nanayakkara, Minister of State for Finance Mr. Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, Secretary to the President Mr. Saman Ekanayake, Senior Advisor to the President on Economic Affairs Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga, and numerous representatives from local plantation companies, also discussed various aspects of the proposed initiatives.

(President’s Media Division)

Continue Reading


China hands over 100 egg incubators to SL




With the objective of strengthening the rural economy and empowering small scale poultry farm owners, 100 egg incubators were distributed today (Nov. 08) under the patronage of Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena at the Temple Trees.

According to a request made by the Prime Minister during his visit to China’s Yunnan Province, the Chinese Ambassador – Mr. Qi Zhenhong handed over 100 incubators to the Prime Minister and these machines were distributed all over the island by the Hadabima Authority of the Ministry of Agriculture.

The Chinese Ambassador who participated in this event, said that as a special friend, China will always fully support the program of Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena to improve the lives of the rural people in Sri Lanka.

Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera, Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda, State Ministers D. B. Herath, Janaka Vakkumbura, Kader Mastan, Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, Chamal Rajapaksa and other District Coordinating Committee Chairmen, Secretary to the Ministry of Public Administration Ranjith Ashoka, Hadabima Authority Chairman Sarath Chandrasiri Vithana and others joined the event.

(Pics : Prime Minister’s Media Unit)

Continue Reading


Independent Commission for Truth, Unity & Reconciliation to be established




In a historic step towards transitional justice and post-conflict reconciliation, the Government of Sri Lanka has decided to establish an independent Commission for Truth, Unity and Reconciliation. 

This proposed Commission will be established through an Act of Parliament, currently in the drafting process as a concept paper in consultation with relevant stakeholders. The concept paper, used to prepare the final draft of the Bill for Parliament, will soon be available for comments to ensure an inclusive process in developing legislation that strengthens and safeguards national unity through truth, transitional justice, reconciliation, reparation and social cohesion.

A key objective of this process is to establish the truth regarding post-conflict grievances of Sri Lankan citizens, facilitating reconciliation, reparation and sustainable peace. The proposed Commission acknowledges every Sri Lankan’s inalienable right to ascertain the truth, a pivotal aspect for individuals and communities to heal from past conflicts.

Additionally, the Commission aims to ensure and strengthen national unity, peace, the rule of law, coexistence, equality, tolerance, respect for diversity and reconciliation among the people of Sri Lanka. This commitment extends to preventing any recurrence of disharmony and future conflict between the multi-ethnic and diverse communities.

The Commission is expected to review, consider and facilitate the implementation of recommendations made by past Commissions related to Sri Lanka’s post-conflict reconciliation efforts, including the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC). Findings from the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms, established in 2006 by the Government of Sri Lanka, will also be considered.

The Government of Sri Lanka is committed to ensuring that the proposed independent Commission acts impartially, free from any political influence. With a victim-centric ethos, the proposed Commission will be a sanctuary for voices to be heard, pain to be acknowledged and dignity to be reclaimed, providing a closure to victims and paving the path for national unity and social cohesion.

Pending the enactment of the proposed new law, the Government has initiated the establishment of an interim body, the Interim Secretariat for Truth and Reconciliation Mechanism (ISTRM). The ISTRM is working to build the necessary legal and policy framework, operational procedures and guidelines for the Commission. The objective of the ISTRM is to lay the foundation for a home-grown solution for truth, reconciliation and national unity. The ISTRM is currently engaging with the public and stakeholders to ensure the Commission is built with their participation and consultation, shaping this transformative mechanism and ultimately paving the way for sustainable peace and national unity.

(President’s media Division)

Continue Reading


Copyright © 2023 Sri Lanka Mirror. All Rights Reserved