Institute of National Security Studies (INSS) said there should be an integrated approach for national security within the Colombo Port City incorporating the three armed forces, police, firefighters and other authorities.
The INSS held a public lecture yesterday with participation of experts from armed forces, academia diplomatic fields as well as from Urban Development Authority.
The event was marked as the first discussion convened on Colombo Port City Project following cabinet approval given on March 24. 2021 on Port City legislation.
Accordingly, the discussion by various stakeholders at this discussion comprehensively aimed to address the contemporary and future issues related to the establishment of the Port City on how the relevant authorities should grapple with ensuring national security.
The lecture was moderated by the Director General of the INSS and Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Admiral (Prof.) Jayanath Colombage and Director General (Development) of State Ministry of Urban Development, Coast Conservation, Waste Disposal and Community Cleanliness S. K. A.P. Devaraja.
Ms. Devaraja introduced the Colombo Port City to be a Public Private Partnership (PPP) between the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) and CHEC Port City Colombo Pvt Ltd., (Project Company), with a foreign direct investment (FDI of at least US$ 1.4 billion (Rs. 218 billion).
She further expounded on the development plan touching upon the connectivity between infrastructure of Port City and Colombo, the land ownership of the project as gazetted by the President under the State Lands Ordinance, all reclaimed lands are established as part of the territory of Sri Lanka, and the master plan; where 74 marketable plots are categorized with 5 districts (Financial, the Marina, the International Island, Island Living, Central Park Living).
Describing further key elements, she explained that there would be a well defined road system, green network, network of public open places. Therefore, with the extensivity of the project, the partnership between GOSL and Project Company in terms of security issues were discussed in extant especially pertaining to environmental,economic as well as military security.
Pertaining to ensurance of environvironmental security, it was thus explained that first Environmental Impact Assessment on Port City was done in 2011 and consequently a Supplementary Environmental Impact Assessment was completed in 2015.
The report linked environmental aspect for the first time to socio economic implications.
In terms of economic growth and implications, it was highlighted that there would be a Light Railway Transit (LRT) within Port City as well. However, it was brought to light that a discussion on security plan for the Colombo Port City Project is yet to be finalized.
And the gathering further opined that there should be an integrated approach for national security within the Port City incorporating the three forces, police, firefighters etc.
As a keypoint, it was stated the need to allocate responsible authority to engage in operation and maintainance of breakwater to fill the current vaccum of authority. The discussion concluded with ending remarks by Director General and it was concluded that the project must be treated not as a plot of land but more as a facility and appropriate policies and practices must be realized in reaping the maximum advantage of the project.
Experts such as former commander of the Air Force; Air Chief Marshal Gagan Bulathsinghala , Senior Lecturer Department of Zoology, University of Sri Jayawardenapura Dr. Kamal Ranatunga, Managing Director Neat Solutions Commander D V C B Paulis (Retd), Commodore De Silva, and Captain R.Joseph of Sri Lanka Navy contributed to this discussion.