- built at a cost of US$ 1.4 billion (Rs.225 billion) by the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC)
By Sandun A. Jayasekera
The reclaimed land with the extent of 446 hectares on which the Port City is located was officially handed over to the Urban Development Authority (UDA) yesterday at the Presidential Secretariat at a ceremony attended by President Maithripala Sirisena.
The ownership deed was signed by President Sirisena at the auspicious time. The land grant was first handed over to the UDA. The UDA handed over a plot of land under a lease agreement to CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd.
The entire Port City, a reclaimed land adjacent to the port of Colombo will be owned by the Sri Lanka Government after it was built at a cost of US$ 1.4 billion (Rs.225 billion) by the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC).
However, leasing out of 116 hectares for investors under a 99-year lease agreement will be vested with the Chinese company under the supervision and consent of the Megapolis and Western Development Ministry. Investors are expected to invest around US$ 15 billion at the port city after they were provided with lands, infrastructure facilities, man power and other utility services.
Secretary to President Udaya R. Seneviratne, Secretary to the Megapolis and Western Development Ministry, Nihal Rupasinghe and Chinese Ambassador in Sri Lanka Cheng Xueyuan were present at the occasion.
President Sirisena said that the Port City Project was a valuable and important investment for the long term economic development of Sri Lanka and expressed confidence that it would attract massive foreign investments.
When his government came to power in 2015, it took immediate steps to renegotiate the Colombo Port City Agreement to ensure that Sri Lanka’s sovereignty was not adversely affected by the land transfer. During the discussions, the two parties could arrive at a mutually acceptable agreement to ensure that the land rights would remain with Sri Lanka, he said. While the UDA retains the land ownership, the land extent was leased to the CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd.
President’s Secretary Udaya R. Seneviratne and Secretary to the Ministry of Lands and Parliamentary Reforms, W. H. Karunaratne were also present at this occasion.