‘Port City Project Should Proceed’

By Roy Silva

The construction of the Colombo Port City should proceed, say a number of business leaders, who claim that the farce of environmental concerns was a mere gimmick propagated by certain politicians during the pre presidential poll to harness more votes.

“The most important aspect is the long-term economic benefits to the country. There have been concerns voiced on various projects undertaken over the years such as the Mahaweli Project, certain tourism projects such as Kandalama Hotel and the recent South Harbour Expansion Project. But today Sri Lanka is enjoying the benefits of all such projects.

The Colombo Port City Project too will be one of those,” said a leading personality involved in Ports and Shipping.
“It is interesting to note that the breakwater alone in the South Harbour Expansion Project is about seven kilometers long. The harbour covers about 600 hectares and this type of projects bring long term economic benefits to the country,” said a key business figure who did not want to mention his name.

“No country would embark on constructing ports and harbours if they only go by environmental concerns,” he added and pointed out even when constructing huge tanks in Raja Rata in ancient times, there would have been environmental issues but the benefits to the agricultural economy of Sri Lanka were much greater. As such the protests voicing environmental concerns are mere petty political gimmicks. The business personalities called on balanced views based on facts and figures on the project instead of senseless criticism for mere political advantages.

The key features of Colombo Port City include a marina and yacht club, a central boulevard, a sea view apartment complex and a five-star hotel, shopping and entertainment centre, office space, a mini golf course, and many other modern facilities. The cost of the first phase of the project – the reclamation of land by the CCCC – was US$ 1.5 billion and the overall investment is between US$ 15 to 20 billion.

They also highlighted the enormous costs involved in restoring the involved beach in the event the project is abandoned and the repercussions when investors – China, India, US or UK – lose confidence to sign agreements with Sri Lanka.

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