The Government’s revelation that it had to suspend the Port City Project due to pressure from India not only shows the incompetency of the government but also reflects badly on both India and China, the joint opposition charged today.
Cabinet Spokesman and Minister Rajitha Senaratne on Tuesday revealed that the Port City Project, which was initiated by the Rajapaksa government and launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping, had to be suspended and re-visited because of pressure from India.
MP Dinesh Gunawardena told a news conference that it was surprising to note that the government had taken one and half years to reveal the real reason behind the suspension of the Chinese-funded project.
“But then again, the statements of the Cabinet spokesman hold little value. But if what he says is true, this is a serious matter,” he said.
Meanwhile, MP Bandula Gunawardane said the decision to suspend the project under Indian pressure shows the incompetency and the naive nature of the government. “After all, the project was launched by the Chinese President. How can they suspend it just because India told them to do so,” he asked.
When asked about the shortcomings of the first agreement signedby the previous government and alleged harmful clauses in it, the MP said the agreement was not presented in Parliament and therefore the MPs didn’t see the contents.
Minister Senaratne said a 20-hectare block of land set aside for the port city was to be granted to the CHEC Port City (Pvt) Ltd on a freehold basis according to the first agreement and that there was the risk of project management refusing landing rights to Sri Lanka’s aircraft on the properties under its purview and prohibit the use of its air space.(Lahiru Pothmulla)