Sri Lanka port workers object to India, offer to find US$500mn for terminal

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka port workers objecting to a plan to get Indian led investment to develop a container in Colombo have offered to find money to build it and instead suggested that the parliament of the country be sold.

The partly built East Container Terminal of the Colombo Port is part of a geopolitical and economic deal to get Indian investment into the port which gets a large part of its transhipment from India.

“There is a local investor and that is the employees of the Sri Lankan Port Authority,” Shyamal Sumanaratne, a leader of the protesting workers told reporters.

“We are ready to raise funds to operate the east terminal container. If the government is ready to say that we are the most valuable resource of the country, we are ready to be its investors.

“We will raise 500 million dollars required for it.”

He did not elaborate on the plan.

Instead of giving a terminal in Colombo to India, he said a term of a concession on Hambantota port should be reduced.

“If the government wants to hand over something to India then give them the parliament or the temple trees,” he said.

“Leave east container terminal that we built alone.”

Almost a third of the terminal had been built already with Ports Authority Funds. Authorities recently fixed cranes imported for another terminal onto the deep water berth.

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Prasanna Kalutharage, another union leader said they will intensify protests in the future. (Colombo/Dec19/2020)

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