December 10, 2019
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    High altitude sports complex in the hiills

    March 31, 2019

    Last week, Cabinet gave the nod for the Finance Ministry to conduct negotiations with the Government-owned People’s Bank to partly finance the project of High Altitude Training Center in Nuwara Eliya..The Export Financial Institute of the United Kingdom has agreed to provide necessary funds under an export credit facility. The People’s Bank has agreed to finance the balance of the contract price that is not covered by the export credit facility.

    Last week, Cabinet gave the nod for the Finance Ministry to conduct negotiations with the Government-owned People’s Bank to partly finance the project of High Altitude Training Center in Nuwara Eliya..The Export Financial Institute of the United Kingdom has agreed to provide necessary funds under an export credit facility. The People’s Bank has agreed to finance the balance of the contract price that is not covered by the export credit facility.

    The project which includes indoor and outdoor training facilities at an altitude of 1895 metres was estimated to cost a staggering €75.5 million or approximately Rs 12.9 billion when it was floated the last time around. But it was put on hold on questions of economic feasibility.

    The proposal had come up several times in the past. It was last floated under Dayasiri Jayasekera, a former Minister of Sports. His administration even signed a technical agreement with the French Company Ellipse Project SAS in July 2017 with UKEF agreeing to finance 70 percent while the remaining 30 percent was to be funded by Hatton National Bank.

    Once constructed, the training facility will have an indoor sports complex swimming pool, multi-sport ground, cricket ground, 400-metre synthetic running track, 400-metre grass track, two indoor tennis courts, administration block and medical centre, apartment block and a hotel with a 75 room facility.

    The Cabinet in 2017 also approved the transfer of an Urban Development Authority (UDA) land (1 acre, 1 rood and 23.69 perches) to the Ministry of Sports for the construction of the hotel.

    While high-altitudehigh-altitudehigh-altitude training will definitely be of benefit to athletes, critics question the need for spending such an exorbitant sum for a ‘fancy’ training centre in Sri Lanka when the Government struggles to maintain existing sporting facilities. How will the administration generate returns on the heavy investment? They also question the environmental damage it may cause to one of Sri Lanka’s popular tourist destinations.

    Sri Lanka has already spent over Rs 3 billion in renovating and building three cricket venues at Kettarama, Pallekele and Sooriyawewa to co-host the 2011 World Cup. The Government has since struggled to settle the bills and millions are still owed to State-owned institutions.

     

    The project which includes indoor and outdoor training facilities at an altitude of 1895 metres was estimated to cost a staggering €75.5 million or approximately Rs 12.9 billion when it was floated the last time around. But it was put on hold on questions of economic feasibility.

    The proposal had come up several times in the past. It was last floated under Dayasiri Jayasekera, a former Minister of Sports. His administration even signed a technical agreement with the French Company Ellipse Project SAS in July 2017 with UKEF agreeing to finance 70 percent while the remaining 30 percent was to be funded by Hatton National Bank.

    Once constructed, the training facility will have an indoor sports complex swimming pool, multi-sport ground, cricket ground, 400-metre synthetic running track, 400-metre grass track, two indoor tennis courts, administration block and medical centre, apartment block and a hotel with a 75 room facility.

    The Cabinet in 2017 also approved the transfer of an Urban Development Authority (UDA) land (1 acre, 1 rood and 23.69 perches) to the Ministry of Sports for the construction of the hotel.

    While high-altitudehigh-altitudehigh-altitude training will definitely be of benefit to athletes, critics question the need for spending such an exorbitant sum for a ‘fancy’ training centre in Sri Lanka when the Government struggles to maintain existing sporting facilities. How will the administration generate returns on the heavy investment? They also question the environmental damage it may cause to one of Sri Lanka’s popular tourist destinations.

    Sri Lanka has already spent over Rs 3 billion in renovating and building three cricket venues at Kettarama, Pallekele and Sooriyawewa to co-host the 2011 World Cup. The Government has since struggled to settle the bills and millions are still owed to State-owned institutions.

     

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