While environmentalists called upon the government to issues orders to halt the continuation of the Chinese funded Port City Development project, cabinet approval has been granted last night to suspend its constructions.
The decision had been made yesterday following a conclusion made by a committee that was headed by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, that due procedures have not been followed with concern to the project including the procurement process, its environmental impact study etc.
Although during the campaign period itself, the PM stated that the project would not be allowed to continue, doubts were raised concerning his statements since Cabinet Spokesman Minister Rajitha Senaratne said otherwise.
Meanwhile environmentalists and civil society organisations have urged the government to ensure the constructions of the Port City development project to discontinue the project owing to the following reasons:
- In handing over the project and its constructions, the regulations and legal framework governing the project had been violated
- Has resulted in a deterioration of internal natural resources of the country as well as the coastal line
- Inconveniences and disruptions caused to the local fishing communities
The Port City development project was designed to spread across a total of 575 acres and a total of 420 acres off it was to be for sale and the rest was to be utilized for public amenities development. Off the land allocated to be for sale, some 266 acres was reserved for the Chinese.
This project was first planned in 1998 as part of the Colombo Metropolitan Regional Structure Plan.
Environmentalists claim the environmental evaluation report for the Chinese funded project that was compiled by the Moratuwa University is incomplete and is flawed. They state during first three months alone, fishing equipment worth Rs. 4 million has been destroyed and that the fishermen have been unable to engage in their livelihoods due to a decrease in the fish population.