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Sri Lanka relents, ends threat to scupper Chinese port city in Colombo

SRI LANKA will now allow a US$1.5 billion Chinese "port city" deal, to include shopping malls, a water sports area, golf course, hotels and apartments, to go ahead, dropping its earlier plan to scupper the project, instigated by the previous government.

Sri Lanka relents, ends threat to scupper Chinese port city in Colombo
09 February 2015 - 21:25

Sri Lanka relents, ends threat to scupper Chinese port city in Colombo

SRI LANKA will now allow a US$1.5 billion Chinese "port city" deal, to include shopping malls, a water sports area, golf course, hotels and apartments, to go ahead, dropping its earlier plan to scupper the project, instigated by the previous government.

But the country's new president, Maithripala Sirisena, will still take up earlier objections of freehold rights over the property when he visited China in March, said a cabinet spokesman, Reuters reports.

India is also concerned about security threats posed by Chinese control of 20 hectares adjacent to the Port of Colombo, as India is a major user of deep water transshipment port, ideally located on the main Asia-Europe route from China.

New Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said before last month's presidential vote that he would cancel the deal if his party came to power because no environmental impact study had been presented to parliament.

The site is on 233 hectares of reclaimed land. The deal earmarks 108 hectares for China Communications Construction Co Ltd, including 20 hectares freehold and the rest on a 99-year lease.

In a full-page newspaper advertisement, Jiang Houliang, the head of CHEC Colombo Port City (Pvt) Ltd, said the project would create 83,000 jobs and $13 billion of foreign direct investment over 10 years.

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