Mr. Champika Ranawaka, the ministerial authority for the Megapolis, has announced that the work on the Colombo Port City is to be resumed soon after renegotiating the contract with the Chinese authorities. The project has been halted by the present government due to the irregularities found in the contract.
The government will not encounter any serious problem in rectifying the illegality of the contract and any irregularity can even be regularized if necessary by enacting new laws in the parliament.
What is to be pointed here is the unresolved and the most crucial matter of the entire Colombo Port City project is the prevention of threats to the environment. It is to this that there is a lack of concern. If the authorities decide to go ahead with the project, the marine resources and the fish breeding grounds and corals will be seriously affected, due to the heavy extraction amounting to 100 million tons of sand from the sea. This will cause depletion of rich fishing grounds resulting in livelihood problems to thousands of fishermen living in the western coast.
It also need to be pointed out that around 16 million metric tons of granite has to be found from the interior of the country to reclaim the sea to construct the Colombo Port City. What would be the impact of such human activity on the water resources, flora and fauna and other various species living in the rock hill environment.
We can appreciate the recent statement that President Maithri made at the the 9th Annual Summit of the Institute of Environmental Professionals of Sri Lanka (IEPSL), held today (Oct. 20) at Waters Edge Hotel, Battaramulla, at which he assured that “the government would take legal actions against those who destroy the environment, irrespective of their status”.
We now await to see how he would prevent the destruction of environment if he says yes to the Colombo Port City or any other projects of that nature in their development strategy in the implementation of the proposed “megapolices”.
To make Sri Lanka, the Miracle of Asia, has been the dream of the members of Rajapaksa family, which they unfortunately failed to realize due to an error made in their calculation of their own future destiny.
Now it is the turn for Sirisena and Wickremesinghe administration to perform the same miracle. Their ambitious plan is to build “megapolises” in the Western and Eastern provinces, which the Rajapaksa administration in their times named them as Metro Regions. The purpose of both was to attract foreign investors to develop our country.
My question for Sirisena and Wickremesignhe administration is whether such mega projects will satisfy the needs of the farmers and fishermen and workers who comprise the 75% of the population. Has the new administration identified any other solution to the problems of the peasantry and small fishermen? It is my view “megapolises” are not the answers. What is not clear is on what basis has Colombo Port City been classified as a priority project?