ECONOMYNEX T – An influential Buddhist monk who has close links to the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Party of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has added his voice in opposing a law to govern Colombo Port City, slamming it as an attempt to build a ‘Chinese Colony’.
“We are not opposed to the Port City. We are not opposed to investments,” Muruth-thetuwe Ananda Thero from Colombo’s Abayaramaya Temple told reporters.
“This is being made into a Chinese colony. We are not ready to allow the Port City to be made into a Chinese colony. I think it will be a challenge to the Western Province.
“It has been exempted from a number of laws. It is clear that is being made into a Chinese colony. We gave power to the rulers to build the country. The rulers should not have hatched deals in secret.
“They should have discussed with us.”
Flanked by former minister Wijedasa Rajapaksa, a lawyer, he said they had filed the 15 the petition against the Port City Commission bill at the Supreme Court.
Ananda Thero said his Temple had given birth to the SLPP or Pohottuwa (flower bud) party.
“Actually the name Pohottuwa came up from Abayaramaya,” he said. “Whatever anyone says today, or tries to take ownership it cannot be taken by anyone.
“It is from this Abayaramaya that Pohottuwa was built. For the current rulers the homeland was Abayaramaya.
That it is forgotten today is a different story. That is the way of the country. There is no gratitude, though the Lord Buddha has told to show gratitude. Whatever the gratitude, where is this country going?”
Meanwhile Rajapaksa says the reclaimed land was neither under the Western Provincial Council nor Colombo Municipal Council.
The Port City, reclaimed by China Harbour Engineering Corporation is expected to be a major draw of foreign investments and also be a place where it will be easier to start businesses.
However there has been opposition to the bill to set up a Colombo Port City Commission which is expected to administer and also regulate the area.
The Bar Association of Sri Lanka has also said some of its provisions may be violating sections of the constitution dealing with the unitary state, overeignty of the people and fundamental rights.(Colombo/Apr17/2021)