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Sri Lanka continuing talks with India over Colombo port East Terminal: Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is continuing talks with India over the development of a container terminal in Colombo port, Information Minister Bandula Gunewardene said as port workers continued to protest.

“The last administration has signed an agreement with India,” Minister Gunewardene said. “It is not the policy of President and this government to get emotional or excited.

“Problems will be resolved through talks. Whether the US, China or India, it matters will be discussed with friendly countries at a diplomatic level.”

Sri Lanka’s last administration signed a deal with India and Japan to complete the development of the partially built East Container Terminal of the Colombo Port through an operating company, with a loan taken by the port.

However with rising debt levels, top officials have advocated a standard build and operate transfer agreement with investors putting in equity and taking responsibility for debt.

Reports said India’s Adani Ports and Sri Lanka’s John Keells Holdings together with Sri Lanka Ports Authority are a contender to complete the development as a BOT deal.

Senior official said Sri Lanka will have a majority stake through SLPA and local investors.

Though bids were called to develop the port as a BOT deal with local and international consortia responding during when Ranil Wickremesinghe was Prime Minister the investment was halted.

President Maithripala Sirisena also objected to the deal. (Colombo/July23/2020)

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