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Thursday, February 19, 2015 - 05.17 GMT

Committee to be set up to probe Colombo Port City project


Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe has set up a special committee and a cabinet subcommittee to look into the activities of the Chinese funded US$ 1.5 billion Colombo Port City Project.

The Prime Minister told parliament that a cabinet subcommittee, headed by him has also been appointed and it will take a final decision on the project after considering the ultimate report of the special committee.

The special committee, headed by the business management expert Ajith de Costa, will look into the complaints lodged by the public regarding the controversial project.

Responding to Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva in the House today Prime Minister Wickremasinghe said the deal to build the city off the shore on reclaimed land was signed without cabinet approval and without following required procedures.

He said the former government had implemented the project without transparency and misled the parliament by withholding actual information. The special committee appointed will launch an investigation to uncover any corruption, he added.

During his visit to Sri Lanka in September 2014, President Xi and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa launched the US$ 1.5 billion Colombo Port City Project to build a modern city on land reclaimed from the sea.

Construction of the port city was to be carried out by China Harbour Engineering Company under a Memorandum of Understanding signed by Sri Lanka Ports Authority with China Communication Construction Company (CCCC).

Concerns have also been raised on the agreement since under the deal signed with the CCCC, the company is getting land on a freehold basis in a high security zone.

The proposed city will be built on 233 hectares (583 acres) of land reclaimed from the sea between the Colombo South Port and the Galle Face Green and under the agreement 20 hectares of land will be given to the Chinese firm on an outright basis.

The government said the land in a high security zone cannot be given to another country and project needs to be completely reviewed.

The Prime Minister said that Chinese government is also in a tough stand regarding the preliminary measures of this project and if there are frauds or corruptions in the signing of agreements and implementation of this project, China will also take stern action against the perpetrators.

The Prime Minister assured not to leave room to blemish the good relations between Sri Lanka and China.






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Last modified: February 19, 2015.

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