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Rajapaksa opposes China being given lands in Lanka south port

Press Trust of India  |  Colombo 

Former Sri Lankan President today said he opposes the government's decision to give land in the southern sea port of Hambantota to for the development of a special economic zone (SEZ).

His statement came after the inauguration of in Hambantota amidst violent protests by Rajapaksa supporters.

Rajapaksa said in a statement that government's plan to grant 15,000 acres cannot be justified when 2000 acres of land around the port were to be utilised by the Chinese in terms of his government's agreement with

He said the Hambantota port was meant to be a free port and the loan taken by his was to be repaid through the gained from the Ports Authority operations.

"The new made some unwise decisions. Firstly they disregard the management contract entered into by my government" he said.

He adds that current government's framework agreement with Merchant Company to lease out the port for 99 years.

"No other will accrue to the Ports Authority for 15 years," he added.

He stresses the 99-year lease agreement impinges on Sri Lanka's sovereignty.

Rajapaksa supporters protested against the ceremony to launch the on Sunday.

The police used water cannon and tear gas to quell the protest amidst claims by the Rajapaksa backers that ruling party supporters had attacked them.

Over 30 people were arrested for the riot including a Buddhist monk. They have been kept under remand custody.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, January 11 2017. 00:07 IST