Port city to continue once issues are resolved

ChampikaThe Government has said it will continue with the China-funded multi-billion-U.S. dollar mega port city project as part of plans to develop Colombo, the Xinhua Chinese news agency reported.

Minister of Megapolis and Western Development Patali Champika Ranawaka told Xinhua that the government hopes to transform the country into a “smart and technologically advanced nation” in the coming five years and the port city project will be included in its development plans.

The 1.4 billion-U.S. dollar project, which is funded by China Communications Construction Company Ltd. (CCCC), was suspended in March after concerns were raised over some aspects of the project.

However, Ranawaka said the government is now looking into these aspects and hopes to continue with the project as part of its megapolis plan.

“Once certain issues are addressed, then no one can challenge such a huge development project in the city of Colombo,” he said.

“We are right now addressing the issues and we have asked the project organization to conduct a proper environment assessment and also we are addressing the legal and social issues. We are positive the project will continue,” the minister added.

The new national government, which was sworn in following the victory of the United National Party (UNP) at a parliamentary election last month, has also said China is currently its biggest investor as the nation has helped develop Sri Lanka, especially after the end of a 30-year civil war.

“A lot of trade and cultural partnership existed in the past between Sri Lanka and China which has lasted for decades. We have developed a very serious link between China and Sri Lanka which has just kept growing. Now China is the largest investor here in Sri Lanka and also in time to come they will be the largest bilateral partner as far as trade, commerce and investment is concerned,” the minister said.

The new government has also vowed to transform the country and make it technologically advanced in the coming years, and Ranawaka said that in order to do this, they hope to attract more foreign investors.

“We are focusing on transforming this country into a smart nation. The sole aim of this megapolis is to transform the western province into a big environmentally sustainable city. We will establish a new legal authority to do this,” he said.


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