Sri Lanka new government had not yet decided to stop ‘Port City’

Audrey Azoulay

Feb 19, 2015 (LBO) - Sri Lanka’s Port City project has not been stopped yet and is still being looked into, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told parliament yesterday. "We have not yet decided to stop this project but we are examining all the details of this agreement," Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said in a statement. "We will take necessary steps if there is anything illegal and corrupt in this agreement and conditions harmful to the countr.
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" A final decision on the Chinese funded project will be taken once the appointed committee of experts and a Cabinet sub-committee chaired by him submit their reports. He said the parliament will be informed. The appointed committee to review the project had found that an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) had been conducted on the reclamation. Sri Lanka has signed 1.4 billion US dollar deal with a Chinese State firm to reclaim sea to build a new city in the Island. The Port City is to be constructed between the Southern edge of the new Colombo South Port and the Fort Lighthouse. The total area of sea to be reclaimed is 252 hectares.
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There will be a 3.25km long breakwater and a large internal artificial canal in the city. Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe earlier quoted saying that the deal has to be reviewed again to give a nod to the Chinese Port. Wickremesinghe said he and President Maithripala Sirisena had held talks with Chinese representatives on the project and discussed the country would act against politicians, government officials and agencies and companies involved in abuse of power or corruption. "We will not allow abuse of power and corruption to obstruct friendly relations between China and Sri Lanka," he said. "We will also not protect corrupt people whether Chinese or Sri Lankan.
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" He said Rajapaksa regime had not kept parliament properly informed about the port city project. "The former regime promised to provide details but failed to do so," Wickremesinghe said. "The port city project agreement was not transparent. The agreement was signed without Cabinet approval,’ "The former regime also failed to answer charges that there was no proper Environmental Impact Assessment. They hid details of the project and also made false statements to parliament."
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