Jothisha Sri Lanka
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The final decision on the controversial Colombo Port City project begun during the previous regime with a USD 1.6billion Chinese investment would be taken after studying the report to be presented by the experts’ committee appointed to re-examine this project deeply and the particulars revealed through this study, said Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe while making a special statement in Parliament yesterday (18 February).

Ajith de Costa is the chairman of this experts’ committee appointed by the government to examine this project while the other members of the committee are Prof. Ruchira Kumaratunga, Dr. N.P. Wijayananda, Dr. Anil Premaratne, Prof. Samantha Hettiarachchi, Channa Fernando, A.S. Obeysekera and Sunila Jayawardane.

A Cabinet sub-committee has been appointed under Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to study the report to be submitted by this experts’ committee.

The Prime Minister added that this committee would undertake a deep study into this Port Cuty project and would also examine the complaints forwarded by the people.

The issues over this project became more questionable since the former government had not been transparent on the details of this project said Ranil Wickremesinghe.

While it is still not clear if the new government is also to grant outright ownership of a part of the reclaimed land to the Chinese stakeholders of this project like the earlier government had agreed to, certain media reports suggest that apart from the Chinese company the incumbent government is considering the involvement of India also in this Port City project.

The new government’s Cabinet recently approved the continuation of this project to reclaim land from the sea near the Galle Face Green and construct a Port City.

While revealing this decision, Cabinet spokesman and Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said this decision had been taken after studying the environmental assessment reports done by the former government.

This is how the government had decided to offer land to the Chinese stakeholders of this Port City project:

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka at that time had revealed how land reclaimed after filling a part of the sea near the Colombo port is to be offered to the investor.

According to the 2013 CBSL Annual Report, this new city would come up on land reclaimed from near the new extended harbor’s breakwater up to the Galle Face Green.

An extent not less than 233 hectares would be reclaimed for this proposed project.

An extent of 108 hectares from this reclaimed land is to be reserved for the company selected for this project, China Communications Constructions Company (CCCC) to cover its investment costs, marketing promotions costs and profits.

From the extent of land thus reserved, some 20 hectares would be on free hold right basis and the balance 88 hectares on a 99 year lease basis.

The remaining 125 hectares of this reclaimed land would be under the purview of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA).

The estimated cost of USD 1.3 billion for the first phase of this project is to be invested by CCCC.

Since the investment for this project is to be made as direct foreign investment by the investor, the government does not bear any costs or foreign borrowings on the financial aspects.