21 September, 2020

Blog

Who Rules?

By Ranil Senanayake

Ranil Senanayake

Ranil Senanayake

The media of the 13th Friday had two very different statements on the fate of the ‘Port City “ project. The Daily Mirror reports The Government of Sri Lanka through its acting cabinet spokesman; Minister Lakshman Kiriella stated, “The Port City Project has been automatically stopped as there were so many shortcomings in the EIA report. We must go through it and rectify those shortcomings before re-start the project,”

But an interview to the Hindustan Times 13th Friday, given by a Chinese official by name of Mr. Zhang seems to differ. He states, “There were some criticisms and doubts (about the project).  This project is aligned development goals of Sri Lanka. We have very good relations with President Maithripala Sirisena,” On concerns about damaging the environment, he said: “We focus a lot on environmental protection. For marine projects, we have very strict standards about purity of water body. We have 24 sentinel stations. If there is any influence on water quality, we will change implementation plans”.

Two questions arise; the first is who decides on the fate of the project? The Government of Sri Lanka or the Chinese officials? Can China over rule Sri Lanka in matters of Sri Lanka’s sovereignty?

MaithriThis then raises other questions as to weather Minister Kiriella was misinformed ? The Chinese official seems to suggest that there were no serious shortcomings in the EIA. But Minister Kiriella tells us that there was. Given this state of confusion it might be best if the EIA in question was held up for public scrutiny.

The need to examine the EIA is also made urgent in the light of the comments made by the Chinese official. He talks about environmental protection only in regard to the water quality around the project area. Should not the EIA also address potential impacts to the mainland? If it appears that the EIA was a sloppy, quick and easy job to satisfy a bureaucratic need to overcome national safeguards, it should e seen as treason against the nation.

Have the citizens of Colombo been warned that their air quality will plummet downwards as the pollution from the new city is blown in by the sea? Has the export of all hazardous waste from the new city been part of the conditions or is Sri Lanka seen as their dumping ground? Has the source of water to this new city been identified? Will be loose our water right to our watersheds? Where will the energy to power this city come from? Is Sri Lanka going to be burdened with dirty power plants to supply their needs? Has the local impact of the removal of rocks and sand to fill up this new land been evaluated?

We are supposed to be a free, independent country. Just because some greedy individuals signed a flawed document as a ‘contract’ are we not in a position to defend ourselves? Will our leaders stand in our defense and protect our rights or will they acknowledge a new set of rulers, compromise our rights and bow before them?

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Latest comments

  • 3
    0

    Let me endorse the sentiments expressed by the writer, particularly in the matter of the government of Sri Lanka making a clear statement on the status of this project.
    If it doesn’t it can justifiably be accused of what the Rajapaksa government consistently did: have half a dozen “senior” government people make disparate statements and when it was thought the dust had settled, decide what was the most feasible to adopt, irrespective of whether it was the right one or whether, in fact, it was even true!

    • 4
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      as any other contract or project Sri Lanka already have a legally binding contract that Sri lanka & China had signed for the port city. The contract has specified termination clauses that either party cannot easily terminate the contract.

      Since this issue had debated in public it is better this port city contract is shown to public and explain the contractual liabilities if either party terminates this contract.

      • 2
        0

        Quite Right…we need to know the contents of the Contract executed with the Chinese. What did the former regime offer the Chinese while fooling the public about protecting the sovereignty of Sri Lanka? It may not be easy to get out of this international contract without paying an hefty penalty, same as it happened on the Hedging deal. But if the environment conditions are conditions precedent, and if these have not been met, no Chinese can stop the Govt of Sri Lanka from doing what is best to safeguard its interest.

        • 0
          1

          Notwithstanding the issues of cancellation on the Agreement, why should China be concerned if the present govt decides to cancel same for whatever reason, unless China is losing out on the deal, that means more to China in the end, overriding Sri Lanka’s own interests, geopolitical or otherwise.

          The writer has raised many serious concerns, including power supply and water requirement that would burden the mainland supply that is at it’s peak supply. Is Sri Lanka short of land mass as Singapore to encroach in to the ocean? There is so much of wetland marsh and what is required is a proper drainage system in place if we are short of area for development?

          These Socialist Political Bastards starting from Sevala Banda downwards in this country that vehemently opposed anything foreign has not only sold their souls but the country and the future generations.

        • 0
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          we the people of Lanka have the RIGHT TO INFORMATION on this matter and the EIA must be scrutinized by civil society.

    • 0
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      It is the government which seems to be inept. One day a Yahapalana minister discloses that the EIA has been found and the project is going ahead, only to be contradicted by RW that it has to be debated in parliament. The question of Sri Lankan sovereignty does not come into it, as there is no doubt that a written contract exists. One party is not at liberty to make changes to it. The ‘Common candidate’ President appears to be kowtowing to the Chinese while RW’s minion Samaraweera does the same in Washington. The Sri Lankan taxpayer may end up with a large bill to pay, but with nothing to show for it.

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 0
    1

    Yes we should b stand on our feet and not be bullied by the Chinese or Indians or for that matter by any other person. Although then earlier fool gave into the Chinese to build is ego up.

  • 1
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    Right now bullied by Americans

  • 0
    1

    Bullied by Chinese, Indians, Americans, ….. a country that cannot implement its own constitution, ….. respect its ethnic minorities for 67 yrs, ……….

  • 0
    0

    Speking of environmental impact….
    Any project creates many landfill sites:
    Pl watch: #Trashed http://www.trashedfilm.com

    Will all University Gography/environment departments screen ‘Trashed’ in the campuses and outside them please?

  • 0
    0

    The citizens have a right to know the content of the proposal and also of the EIA report, prepared by the Moratuwa University. It has to be published so that the citizens of this country will have an opportunity to make their commensts.

    People’s participation is a must for good governance. It looks that these proper proceedures have not been followed.

    What is the position of the Central Environmetal Authority on this matter. Do they know what the project is. Has it given its approval?

    The failure on the part of the government to follow the correct procedure points to the fact that there is a hidden agenda behind. The government has purposely hidden it from people.

    I am keen to know what its impact will be on the country side from where they will bring rocks and gravel and on the sea and the beaches.

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