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Sri Lanka expresses sovereignty concerns over Chinese port city project

Jan 16, 2015 11:54 AM GMT+0530 | 6 Comment(s)

CONCERNED:  Sri Lanka's new highways and investment promotions minister concerned over port city project.

EconomyNext - Sri Lanka's new government will review a 1.3 billion US dollar Chinese-funded and built reclamation project next to its main port on security and sovereignty concerns, Investment Promotion and Highways Minister Kabir Hashim said Friday.


"The port city project has to be reviewed completely because we've always spoken about security concerns," he told reporters soon after assuming office following the opposition's win in last week's presidential polls. 

"We cannot have land given on freehold basis to another country in a high security zone," said Hashim referring to the controversial project to reclaim land next to Colombo port.

Hashim is Chairman and General Secretary of the United National Party whose leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was appointed Prime Minister after last week presidential poll in which strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa was ousted.

The opposition was critical of the project during the election campaign saying it lacked transparency.

"There's been an absolute lack of transparency there," Hashim said, adding that the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), which is implementing the reclamation project, had no right to do so.

"The implementing authority is the ports authority," Hashim said. "Rightly speaking the ports authority does not have the mandate to do that. It should have gone through the ministry of finance. It should have come through the correct process.

"The ports authority is an authority. It has no right to get involved in a multi-complex project. It's mandate is to deal with ports and shipping.

"But this is nothing to do with ports and shipping. It's about development of housing complexes," Hashim said referring to port city project plan to build hotels and office blocks.

The project will be put before the new Cabinet, Hashim said.

"Our greatest concern is that it affects our sovereignty. If it's changing the coastline, it should be done properly with the full awareness and acceptance of everyone in the country."

 


 

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6 Comments

  1. UPUL January 17, 12:42 PM

    Here is the simple solution - Every beneficiary of a project that is in doubt must be called before COPE in Parliament and UNDER OATH asked - How much did you pay?. A simple question and a simple answer. Proceed from there. No need for press briefings and statements to bullshit us. You wanted the job; NOW DO IT WITHOUT ANY DRAMA.

  2. sg January 16, 05:54 AM

    Existing development project should not block , but every project must go through transparency manner. These development projects will brings more economic benefits, but it should go through accountable and transparency approach.

  3. Bradman January 16, 05:20 AM

    Kabir Hashim is perfectly right. The Port has a clear mandate, and it is not to build houses and hotels but to endlessly improve the port and its facilities. Same as the army. Surprised ih cannot see the wood for the trees....

  4. ih January 16, 03:45 AM

    hmmm. interesting. Why cannot Ports Authority engage in projects ? even the the WTC in NYC was promoted by the Ports Authority in New York State.

  5. Rajiv de Silva January 16, 03:19 AM

    The government should ask the former Chairman of SLPA, Dr Wickrema to explain the rationale behind awarding the port city project to China.

  6. Advani January 16, 02:46 AM

    Rajapaksa money making games

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