South Asia

Feasibility of China-funded port city will be studied: Ranil Wickremesinghe

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday clarified that no decision had been taken yet on proceeding with the China-funded port city project coming up in Colombo.

He was responding to a question from Anura Kumara Dissanayake, leader of the Leftist-nationalist Janathā Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP). Mr. Dissanayake raised the issue in Parliament, citing Cabinet spokesperson and Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne’s Thursday announcement that the government had decided to go ahead with the project.

Contradicting his Cabinet Minister’s remarks, Mr. Wickremesinghe said a separate committee and a Cabinet sub-committee that he heads would look into the details of the project, including its impact on the environment. “I got down all the files relating to this project soon after this government came to power. On inspecting them, I found that all the required reports are not there,” he said. His clarification comes a day after Mr. Senaratne told media persons that a credible environment impact assessment report from Sri Lanka’s Moratuwa University had cleared the reclamation component of the project. The government would go ahead with the project, the Minister had said.

The China-funded port city, a $1.34-billion project coming up near Colombo’s Galle Face beach, has been in news ever since it was inaugurated in September by Chinese President Xi Jinping who visited Sri Lanka. Just ahead of Sri Lanka’s presidential polls in January, Mr. Wickremesinghe – who was then the Opposition Leader – said the project would be scrapped should his joint coalition come to power, due to serious threats to the environment. Going by Mr. Wickremesinghe's emphatic comments pre-election, the Cabinet's nod for the project — announced on Thursday by Mr. Senaratne — seemed a virtual U-turn in its position.

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Printable version | Apr 21, 2021 4:35:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/south-asia/feasibility-of-chinafunded-port-city-will-be-studied-ranil-wickremesinghe/article6865779.ece

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