Aug 16 (NIA) – Reclamation work on a mega multi billion dollar Port City project which is funded by China will begin in the Sri Lankan capital in October after China and Sri Lanka recently signed a tripartite agreement to re-start the project.
Sources within the Port City told NIA on Tuesday that while Sri Lanka was currently facing the monsoon season, work on the project would begin in the first week of October once the rains had seized.
The Chinese investor of the Port City Project, the China Harbour Engineering Company(CHEC) is then expected to start hiring local labour to construct Phase 1 of the project. Over 2000 locals are expected to be hired once the project gets off ground.
The entire project, consists of three Phases and is expected to be completed in an estimated period of 12 years, sources said.
The mega 1.4 billion dollar Port City project, which Sri Lanka’s biggest foreign investment, began construction in September 2014, after it was officially launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping, during his trip to the island country and Sri Lanka’s former president Mahinda Rajapakse who was in power then.
The project was suspended six months later, by President Maithripala Sirisena, who defeated Rajapakse in a presidential poll in January 2015. Sirisena’s government called for a complete review of the project and its contract with China.
A year later, Sirisena’s government finally gave the nod for the project to re-commence after changing clauses from the original agreement signed by Rajapakse. The new agreement also removed China’s freehold rights over the reclaimed land.
Last week, Sri Lanka’s Urban Development Authority, the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development and the CHEC signed a tripartite agreement and with this signing, the Colombo Port City Development Project was newly renamed as the Colombo International Financial City. The government stated that the project would transform Sri Lanka into an international financial hub between Dubai and Singapore.
Chairman of the CHEC, Tang Qiad Liang, who had flown in from Beijing to sign the agreement, speaking at the signing event said that the positive changes made to the original agreement of the Colombo Port City was a reflection of CHECs willingness at all times to work closely with the Sri Lankan government to ensure that the project had mutual long term benefits to the investor and the country.
The project is expected to create 83,000 new jobs and help Sri Lanka attract another US 13 billion dollars in direct foreign investment to develop infrastructure within the reclaimed land.