Monday, October 26, 2015
Mahinda responds to ‘bunker palace’ at President’s House
Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa says the underground facility at the President’s House in Colombo Fort was built due to terrorist threats at the time.
Journalists asked him about this ‘bunker palace’, as reported by ‘Sathhanda’ newspapers and several websites, when he visited Abhayarama Temple in Narahenpita today (25) to explain to intellectuals, artistes and others about his position with regard to the Geneva proposal.
Rajapaksa said the Security Council used the facility to hold emergency meetings.
He said it was not his idea to do so.
Such bunkers exist at Temple Trees too, he said, adding such things should not be made public.
President Maithripala Sirisena on October 22 revealed to the country that the President’s House at Colombo Fort has an underground super-luxury palace connected to it.
He said he was not using the President’s House, as its electricity bill alone is Rs. 15 million a month, with the underground palace contributing Rs. 3 million.
The president said he therefore chose a house which costs Rs. 500,000 a month to maintain.
Construction of the underground palace started during the war on instructions by his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa, and work was completed several years after the end of the war.
The construction work had been done by a special unit comprising Navy and Army personnel, but the Defence Ministry does not have any document about expenses etc.
It is a question as to how such a big construction had been carried out secretly.
The palace’s wall is made of more than four feet thick concrete strengthened with iron rods, while concrete slabs too, are more than four feet thick.