Rs. 32 billion Scanners lay idle in the port
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Author:  Nissanka [ Wed Aug 08, 2007 4:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Rs. 32 billion Scanners lay idle in the port

Scanners worth billions lay idle in the port

By Sandun A Jayasekera
@ DM / Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Two out of four high tech scanners worth Rs. 32 billion imported for the use at the Colombo Port about two years ago are lying idle gathering dust, a high official of the Sri Lanka Customs told the Daily Mirror.

“Even the two Scanners that have been commissioned are not being used to full capacity. At the St. Francisco Port, one of busiest ports in the world only two scanners has been installed and one of them is in mobile service. These scanners are an utter waste of state funds,” he said.

The scanners had been imported under the Chandrika Kumaratunga regime and the secretary of the Ministry of Finance was Dr. P.B.Jayasundara. Who ever approved the tender has done it without taking into consideration the requirements of the Port of Colombo, the official said.

“It is alleged that some people at the Ports Authority and the Ministry have received a huge commision for the import of the scanners,” he said.

Besides, a thorough check of goods packed in containers cannot be scanned as the images on the screen are not clear enough. If a check is to be done to the complete satisfaction of Customs Officers, the container has to be opened, he said.

The scanner also pose environment problems and health hazards. The Atomic Energy Authority and Environment Authority should have been consulted before the importation of these machines but that has not been done.

The US government has installed a similarscanner at the Port of Colombo to check on Sri Lanka’s exports to the US. This machine has cost the US government only a fraction of the cost incurred by Sri Lanka to import and install four scanners, the official alleged.

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