Sri Lanka has renegotiated the USD 1.4 billion Chinese-funded Colombo port city project and the new agreement has no provision for outright grant/hold of the reclaimed sea land by China, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told the parliament today. Answering an opposition question in the assembly, Wickremesinghe said, "In March 2015 the project was halted as the government was having concerns over the project's environmental impact." "We carried out the necessary environment impact assessments and decided to go ahead with the necessary concerns addressed," Wickremesinghe said. The government was also averse to giving outright ownership of the reclaimed sea land, he said. The new agreement provides for no outright grant and hold of the land. Wickremesinghe said the port city facility would now be developed as a financial city and not as a mere leisure project aimed by the previous government of the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. "There are no night racing tracks or casinos," the prime minister said. He said China had claimed compensation for the losses incurred due to the delay in implementing the project. "We have done successful negotiations so no more claims of compensation by the Chinese," he said. The port city project on reclaimed sea land adjoining the port of Colombo was a pet project of the Rajapaksa government who relied on the Chinese investments. The government spokesman and Minister Rajitha Senaratne has last week claimed that the Rajapaksa government had delayed the project due to Indian objections on giving outright land to the Chinese.
Chinese port city delayed to gain advantage: Lanka PM
Press Trust of India |