Sri Lanka Ports Authority declared essential service as workers protest

The Sri Lanka Ports Authority has been declared an essential service as workers continued to protest against a decision to give a 49% stake of the East Container Terminal (ECT) to India’s Adani Group.

In an Extraordinary Gazette notice issued today, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared all services, work or labour of any description necessary or required to be done by or in connection with the Sri Lanka Ports Authority established by Section 3 of Sri Lanka Ports Authority Act, No. 51 of 1979 an essential public service.

The gazette notice notes that the services provided by any Public Corporation or Government Department or Local Authority or Cooperative Society or any branch thereof being a Department or Corporation or Local Authority or Cooperative Society, which is engaged in provision of the services specified in the Schedule hereto, is essential to the life of the community and is likely to be impeded or interrupted.

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) has warned of a major protest next week against the sale of a stake in the East Container Terminal.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had told Port Trade Unions earlier this month that the present Government renegotiated a deal with India on the ECT and reached an agreement to retain 51% of the ownership.

“The previous administration had agreed to sell the East Terminal to India. The agreement envisaged obtaining a loan from Japan after sale and purchasing construction equipment with the loan money,” the President had said.

The President had said that he would not allow any harm to be caused the sovereignty or independence of the country when investments are arranged. (Colombo Gazette)