31 October, 2020

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What Kind Of EIA Is Being Done For The Port City?

By Ranil Senanayake

Ranil Senanayake

Ranil Senanayake

It has been reported that the future of the controversial Colombo Port City project is to be decided on the findings of a fresh Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report due shortly, a senior official said. The EIA is being prepared by the Coast Conservation Department according to the news. We hope that this is not a ruse to try and subvert the EIA process. This move prompts a discussion as to what an Environmental Impact Report (EIA) is and what areas of public concerns should be addressed in it.

The International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) defines an environmental impact assessment as “the process of identifying, predicting, evaluating and mitigating the biophysical, social, and other relevant effects of development proposals prior to major decisions being taken and commitments made.”

The citizens of Colombo have on numerous occasions, requested a true EIA, one that addresses biophysical and social effects of the proposed ‘new city’ to the environs of Colombo. We to watch the Coast Conservation’s EIA and watch the committee of ten to see if they accept any EIA that does not address the biophysical and social effects.

Port cityIt is also time for the Central Environment Authority (CEA) to pick up their game. They are appointed to protect the environment and citizens of Sri Lanka, have they not requested a true EIA from the proposed operators of the project? What is their role in all this?

And China? Supposed to be our friend. Knowing full well that a fraud was being perpetrated on the Sri Lankan people by the project not having a real EIA to protect the population of Colombo from harm. I remember well as a young boy watching R.G.Senanayake leave for China on a sick bed to ensure the successful conclusion of the rice rubber pact with China. When offered the commission that went with the business, he refused it personally and requested it be given to the nation. ‘We came as a friend for mutual benefit ‘ he said.

Today, will China bow down to the commission agents and cheats, to bully Sri Lanka in accepting a dubious project with no proper EIA and the possibility of making life harder for the Sri Lankans who live in Colombo? Will they ask their people to respect the laws of Sri Lanka? Will they be a friend in the same way R.G.Senanayake, demonstrated that we were to them?

And will our politicians respect the well being of their citizens and demand that the EIA submitted addresses the biophysical and social effects as required internationally? If they do not, it will do well to remember who they were, when we have to pay the price of their cowardice! Or for their arrogance in declaring what the outcome of the EIA is even before it has begun!

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Latest comments

  • 2
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    The contract has already been signed. There will be heavy penalties if the contract is broken.

    There is nothing wrong with it other than the 200 acre freehold.

    • 2
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      Vibhushana, how could there “be nothing wrong with it other than the 200 acre freehold” if there is no acceptable EIA, as defined by the IAIA??

    • 3
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      Many thanks Ranil for keeping this very important matter alive. Colombo needs decent rapid PUBLIC transport for its citizens before that clown Nimal Siripala starts on airports which will be more white elephants.

      The port city is going to be another massive China funded financial and environmental disaster and WHITE ELEPHANT for Sri Lanka – this time in Colombo and not Hambantota!

      China build white elephants and destroyed elephant and bird habitats in Hambantota where we have a airport that stores paddy and a Harbour without ships while paying back massive loans for the Mattala airport to China!

      Corrupt Sri Lankan politicians never learn. Colombo port city will be the same story. The Chinese economy is in a tail spin and there are lots of unsold apartment in those cities. A new Port city with fancy apartments which are not affordable for Sri Lankans is going to be another Chinese WHITE ELEPHANT and environmental disaster in Colombo – rather than Hambantota this time.

      Today in Peru there are protests against Chinese companies for causing mining and environmental disasters among the people of the Andese.

      It seems that we have exchanged one bunch of crooked politicians for another and neither know the meaning of the words appropriate, INTEGRATED and sustainable development. Corrupt politicians talk about high tech. smart cities when the basics of decent housing and transport for citizens is not available.

      Pathala Champika is talking about smart cities and Nimal Siripala airports. Sri Lanka’s public transport system – buses and trains – are a mess. Cars clog the roads and pollute the city because there is no decent public rapid transport in the city. These political clowns need to stop talking nonsense that the WOrld Bank, IMF and UN feeds them and understand what is appropriate development for Sri Lanka.

      • 0
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        Don Stanley – Your comments are spot on. It is an obscenity to be talking of gigantic white elephants when the average sri lankan has no decent options to get to work everyday. Perhaps we need advocates on every bus (sort of like the campaigners with leaflets on sexual harassment) distributing flyers informing the users of the extent to which they’re being duped and the mind-boggling counter factuals (what if $1.4 billion was spent on developing the public transportation?).

    • 4
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      What has been built up now for the corrupt China port city should be turned into a PARK for the YOUTH of Colombo.

      This corrupt white elephant port city project of China has to be fully financially and legally investigated and go into arbitration and closed down in the NATIONAL INTEREST OF SRI LANKA.

      Pathala Champika will be known as a corruption king if this corrupt Chinese WHITE ELEPHANT port city that does not benefit COlombo residents goes through.

      Already the shopping arcades at Independence Square are empty. There is no takers for that retail space so why build more up market shops and apartments by creating another environmental disaster.

      • 2
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        Dinuk, why “..a park only for the YOUTH of Colombo”???

        What’s wrong with the rest of us???

    • 1
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      Enough is Enough!

      Colombo residents, Youth, NGOs, TUs and citizen’s groups must organize a massive protest to stop the Colombo port city POLLUTION which will be another white elephant so-called development project from China.

      Ranil and Srisena have replaced one bunch of corrupt thugs with their bunch of corrupt thugs.

      At the Central Bank, Ranil Wickramasinghe’s corrupt crook , Arjuna Mahendran who is not a qualified economist and lacks the skills for the job of Govenor, was caught red handed insider trading. He has replaced Nivard Cabraal who was Mahinda Jarapassa’s corrupt crook at the CB.

      Both need to be investigated. The Colombo citizen;s protest should be held outside the Central bank and at the Port City. Enough is Enough!

  • 4
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    What is needed is a ‘Financial Ruin Assessment’ on the investor, the billions spent so far, millions laid waste in the last 10 months and the ruin that portends. The disastrously adverse impact on future investments, particularly FDI should be assessed. The story will be horrendous.

    Can there be any hope for the MEGALOPOLIS? Who will think of touching it with a barge pole?

  • 2
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    What Kind Of EIA Is Being Done For The Port City? APPARENTLY THE YAHAPALANA VARIETY.

    Is this on BOT terms?
    Then who cares for the free hold as long as China bring in money to the Sri lanka coffers?

    Let the project go on and in the process get done with the EIA witht he Chinese.
    Yahapalanaya has totally lost the plot on this.
    Moreover have insulted the President of China who visited SL for the opening………. This is a serious blunder of mega proportions..

  • 2
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    If I am not wrong the fresh EIA was also conducted by the same group that did the original EIA as well. Is this ethical? Who is fooling whom and the way the things are moving forward could be an attempt to whitewash the previous regime. Sri Lankans are ignorant or have no interest in ethical practices. I am sure the individuals who did the EIA and the evaluating committee may have been represent by highly learned individual holding important positions in higher education institutes. If this is the situation what else can we expect. This is another wasteful public expenditure.

  • 0
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    [edited out] We are sorry, the comment language is English – CT

  • 3
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    Ranil Senanayake,

    What about that Rama land-bridge?

  • 1
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    Ranil, we have been told that the PM has appointed a special ‘Review Committee’ to report on this project. However, we have yet to hear of any developments on this or what progress this ‘Committee’ has made of their investigations so far. Let’s get some feedback from these guys if this is ‘for real’ and not some ploy to delay the inevitable!

    One wonders if this ‘Committee’ will simply fade away like the innumerable ‘Commissions’ and ‘Committees’ that have come and gone without a murmur?? Same old same old???

    And then we will surely be loaded with an environmental disaster that will be beyond repair.

  • 0
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    [Edited out]

  • 3
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    Ranil Senanayake,

    A a person who seems to be not only aware of the negative environmental impact of the port city project, please write an essay on its impact on the western coastline.

    I have read reports of what has happened to the Indian coastline , bacause of the many artificial harbours built there in recent times.

    We know less about the sea than we know of the space. Sri Lanka has been shaped by the sea over the millennia and has retained its shape over a very long time as a result. We are also aware of the consequences of coral mining . Can we toy with such projects without fully understanding the possible consequences? Do we have the capacity to conduct a comprehensive and indepth environmental impact study? Should we seek external expertise?

    It is not the economic cost of rejecting this project, which I consider unnecessary at best, that matters, but the environmental consequences to the Island as a whole.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    • 1
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      From the investor’s side should come the loss each day by the stalling of the project.

      What will be the cost of indemnity?

  • 1
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    A Worse cse must be used to assess EIA. The project can not be done. A system mut be evolved to correct errors. The water level will rise. Beaches are being washed away. If permision is granted a guarenteed insuranse that imbalences be corected must be evolved. Telecommunication improvement means cities become obselete. Kalutara can be improved. The kau ganga estuary can be enlarged to a Port. The kel8ini ganga likewise. Fair exchange is no robbery. ADB assesment should be used backed by Japenese technology.

  • 2
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    Colombo an already congested and over burdened city should not have been selected for such a project. Rather it would have been opportune to develop Galle or Trinco using the same money.

    Just as Hambantota was a bad choice due to its remoteness, Colombo is the other extreme, literally bursting at its seams. Other options should have been seriously considered other than the conveniences’ of the Royal family to stage night racing, casinos etc.

    Even at this late stage a revaluation should be carried out and do what is good for the country rather than trying to please the Chinese.

  • 4
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    Ranil Senanayake

    What Kind Of EIA Is Being Done For The Port City?

    It has been reported that the future of the controversial Colombo Port City project is to be decided on the findings of a fresh Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report due shortly, a senior official said.

    *** Let me put you out of your misery as to what EIA means.

    Do you know how the IPKF arrived on Sri Lankan soil. In polite Diplomatic Terms JR was ordered to Invite the IPKF in and JR obliged as it was an Order.

    Here with the Colombo Port City Sri Lanka as been politetly told to make it look like and sound like an action taken by Sri Lanka and hence the term EIA. But infact the order to SCRAP it went out as soon as Modi took over. Small comfort for Sinhala Lanka at least the Humiliation has been hidden.

  • 0
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    What EIA are we talking about???

    Project will start in Jan 2016.

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