Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan plants a tree during yesterday’s commissioning of the Curepe Interchange.

Works Minister Rohan Sinanan has not yet been paid for his land acquired by the State for the Curepe Interchange as it is still before the Commissioner of Valuations.

Sinanan gave the update as the interchange was officially opened yesterday but did not give the figure sought for the land that used to house the Kay Donna Drive-in cinema. However, he said it was “significantly less” than $20 million.

“Let me make it abundantly clear, I do have an interest in one of the 34 properties and like all of the landowners in this area, that company had to be treated the same way,” Sinanan said.

“To date, the company placed a claim, not for $100 million, not for $50 million, not for $25 million, not for $20 million, significantly less than that.

“That claim is being evaluated by the Commissioner of Valuations and to date, no money has been paid to that company.”

He said before the PNM Government’s takeover of the project, the land acquisition budget was $150 million but that was reduced to $95 million. He said the State still has two properties to purchase for the project and this will be finalised within the $95 million budget.

Sinanan said just last week Cabinet had approved another $30 million over a three-year period to the Ministry of Works to improve highway safety and put signage and warning studs on the roadways.

Sinanan congratulated himself and the Government for saving money on several projects. He said on the Curepe Interchange project alone the State saved some $274 million.

He said he was recently able to get an unnamed contractor to reduce the cost for emergency work on a landslip in Maraval from $3 million to below $1 million. He said they also invited retenders on the $1.7 billion Cumuto to Manzanilla highway project, as this cost was for the first phase only. He said four local companies and the foreign company involved in the first bid tendered and a local company was awarded phase one for 50 per cent less than the foreigner, some $400 million.

Although Sinanan did not name the contractor, the $400 million first phase of the project was awarded to Kallco Construction. A relative of Sinanan is married to one of the owners of that company. —Renuka Singh