COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – A 1.4 billion US dollar sea reclamation deal with a Chinese state firm will go ahead as an environmental study has now been discovered by the new administration, a minister said.
Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe had informed the cabinet that a committee that reviewed the project has found that an environment impact assessment (EIA) has been conducted on the reclamation.
Wickramasinghe’s United National Party had earlier alleged that the deal was corrupt. Wickremasinghe had said the project will be reviewed as an environmental study has been done.
The Chinese firm had insisted in a statement that an environmental study had been done.
Wickremasinghe had told the cabinet that the project will go ahead after discussions with the Chinese regarding the amount of free hold land to be given to the firm.
Senaratne said the EIA had now been found and that it had been conducted by Sri Lanka’s Moratuwa University.
Pressed by reporters about earlier claims that the project will alter sea currents and destroy a tourist hotspot south of the port, Senaratne said no such finding was in the EIA and such claims were not correct.
Minister of the new administration had earlier made noises that about freehold land being given to the Chinese firm. Senaratne said it seemed reasonable for the Chinese firm to get freehold land since they reclaimed it from the sea but that will be discussed with the Chinese.
Meanwhile President Maithripala Sirisena will visit China in March shortly after a visit by the Indian Prime Minister to Sri Lanka, he said.