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Chinese firm welcomes Lanka govt approval to port city project

Press Trust of India  |  Colombo 

Days after it received the go-ahead from Sri Lankan government, the Chinese firm constructing the controversial USD 1.5 billion Colombo Port City Project today welcomed the decision, saying it will take prompt measures to ensure the project is completed soon.

CHEC Port City Colombo said it appreciated the government efforts in working towards a "mutually beneficial" solution.

The project was suspended by President Maithripala Sirisena in February 2015 -- a month after he came to power by defeating -- over environmental concerns.

It had then sought an environmental impact report.

After an year-long suspension, the Sri Lankan government last week gave the go-ahead to resume construction "subject to limitations and conditions stipulated in an EIA (environmental impact assessment)" report.

The approval to resume work on the project is seen as an effort to reassure

CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd, a subsidiary of the Communications Construction Co, however in a statement said the year-long suspension has caused significant losses to the government and the company, the Dailymirror.Lk reported.

"This is a result of the huge financial and resources commitment that is required for a project of this scale," it said.

During the project's suspension, CHEC said it cooperated with the government and complied with their requests.

"Sri Lankan Government also conducted the Supplementary Environmental Impact Assessment (SEIA) which was done to understand and fully assess the project's impact and mitigation measures in developing a comprehensive plan to maximise the benefits to the country," it said.

The company said it has been and will always continue to comply with all existing laws and regulations of the country.

"We look forward to contributing positively towards Sri Lanka's economy and to the government's efforts in improving the livelihood of all Sri Lankans," it said.

The project aims to reclaim land off Sri Lanka's west coast and build a city with apartments and leisure facilities, like golf coarse and malls, adjoining the Colombo sea port.

A pet project of the Rajapaksa administration, it was dubbed extravagant and corrupt by then opposition coalition.

The project had created disquiet in India over the growing Chinese presence in

The approval for the project came ahead of Prime Minister Wickremesinghe's expected visit to in April.

First Published: Tue, March 15 2016. 19:28 IST