Colombo, February 3 (newsin.asia): Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has said that the US$ 1.4 billion Chinese-aided Colombo Port City project is not environmentally sound and that it will result in Colombo sinking a bit.
Speaking at a local bodies’ election meeting in Panduwasnuwara in Kandy district on Friday, the President said that details of the adverse environmental impact of the Port City Project (now renamed Financial City Project) will appear in Ravaya, a Sinhalese language weekly on Sunday.
According to a report in the Tamil daily Virakesari, Sirisena said that one Karunaratne, an internationally known Sri Lankan civil engineer, had warned that Colombo might sink a bit as a result of the construction of the Port City.
He further said that he had heard complaints from the staff of the Presidential Secretariat located at the site where the Port City is coming up, that the building shakes now and then.
“Before we accepted the project we should have consulted foreign and reputed Sri Lankan experts. We should not have gone by the lure of foreign investments coming in, and gone by the advice of Chinese experts only,” the President said.
He claimed that if former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the current Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe would not be in the trouble they are in if they had listened to his advice.
Sirisena further said that it was he who had got the Port City project renegotiated with the Chinese in a way advantageous to Sri Lanka. The Rajapaksa regime had given outright ownership of 240 acres to the Chinese, but he had got it converted to a lease.
Meanwhile, the principal suspects in the LKR 11,,450 million February 2015 Central Bank Bond Issue scam, namely former Governor Arjuna Mahendra, his stock broker son-in-law and proprietor of Perpetural Treasuries Ltd. Arjun Aloysius, and the company’s CEO, Kasun Palisena, have been formally named as the accused in the scam by the Crime Investigation Department. They have been accused of insider trading.
Mahendran was a close associate of Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and his appointment as Governor was opposed by President Sirisena. The Presidential Commission on the Bond Scam said that Wickremesinghe simply went by Mahendran’s verbal assurance that his son-in-law Arjun Aloysius would cease to be the Director of Perpetual Treasuries Ltd., and look after his liquor business.
The bond scam and corruption in the present and past regime is a major issue in the run up to the February 10 local bodies elections.
While the Prime Minister has set up three Special High Courts to try corruption cases, the President has appointed commissions to investigate the scams in the government owned airlines, Sri Lankan Airlines and Mihin Lanka.
(An artist’s conception of the completed Colombo Port City)