News Item in Colombo Times, 18 September 2020, with this title “Colombo Port City … has attrcted 16 billion dollar investment ….”
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said the Colombo Port City Project will become the main source of income for the country and the project will generate more than 83,000 employment opportunities.
The Prime Minister made these remarks after inspecting the progress of the Colombo Port City, marking the sixth anniversary since the commencement of the project. The Prime Minister said that the project costing above US$ 15 billion was delayed for two years during the previous government. He added that Sri Lanka had for the first time reclaimed lands from the sea through this project. “During our childhood we heard of only sea erosion and land erosion in the coastal belt and lands being washed away due to sea tide,”, he said.
He said that the construction of the project was commenced by himself as then President with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping exactly six years ago.
The Prime Minister also thanked the government and the people of China for extending their cooperation to make this project a reality. “The Communist Party of China will celebrate its centenary anniversary on October 1.We as Sri Lankans like to extend our best wishes to the president and the people of China,” he said.
The two presidents laid foundation stone for the project on September 17, 2014 and the construction of 3.2 km stretch of breakwater has been complete. The Prime Minister also inspected the Marina Beach and Aqua Golf range and Central Park where he planted a sapling.The Prime Minister also played gold at the Aqua Golf Range.
Later the Prime Minister visited the sales gallery where he got himself acquainted with the ongoing construction of the project. Ministers Dinesh Gunawardene, Rohitha Abeygunawardena, Wimal Weerawansa, State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal and acting Chinese ambassador in Colombo Hu Wei were present.
SOME STRAY THOUGHTS from Michael Roberts, 18 September 2020
A = When I was in Sri Lanka this midyear one of the high-profile TV es items was about trade union actio nat the new Colombo port directed agiasnt Indian roles/investment therein. In my simple layman’s mind on such issues I wondered why the place of chianw as not touched on by new readers a nd their editors [who seem to Run with the hounds in one dOmain and with the hare in another separate domain]. So: my question here to those in the know and to economists in particular is this: what is the role of Indian and/or Indian companies in the development of Colombo port city?
B = When an inland port project was launched in the first Rajapaksa era I was wholly in its favour [though having reservationsa bout the corollary developments of Mattala airport and the Sooriyawea cricket grounds]. This verdict was guided by my finings in People Inbetween (Sarvodaya 1989) where one of my main findings marked the dvelopment of Colombo as a “hegemonic centre” in the British colonial period. This can be identified in part by any map that charts the road and rail network of the island in say 1948. Bt it was alsodemonstrated in People Inbetween by a remarkable graphic map compiled by my goegraher freiends Ksuuma Gunawardena and Percy Silva (both, alas, deceased) displaying the migration patterns in Sri Lanka over the British period. Thus directed my argument for hambantota port was that i would counter and modify the power of colomboto some extent. But now hth further improvement of Colombo port restores Colombo’s hegemonic capcties does it not?
C = I raise a minor personal issue in protest directed at the new prt developments. As a life membe r of the Colombo Surf Club at Mount one of my personal joys in the south west monsoon season was body surfing at Mount Lavinia beach. As of 2019/2020, that pleasre has vanished: the beach configuration does not enable my type of surf skills (while the effective broadening of the beach through infusions of sand alsoshortens the surf run). I wonder if the develpment occurring furhter northat the port have had abearing on this set of developments: one ‘blow’ for Sri Lanka’s economy having squashing impact ona little man’s receatonal joy. Shucks!