Chinese firm gets contract to develop Colombo Port's controversial eastern container terminal
They demanded the ECT to remain 100 per cent owned by the SLPA as opposed to the 51 per cent.President Rajapaksa had declared that he wanted the India-Japan deal on the ECT to go ahead.
- Sri Lanka
A state-run Chinese firm has clinched the contract to develop the Colombo Port’s eastern container terminal, the Sri Lankan government announced on Wednesday, months after it scrapped a tripartite deal with India and Japan to build the deep-sea container port.
China is one of the biggest investors in various infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka. But there has been criticism, both locally and internationally, and growing concerns that China has lured Sri Lanka into a debt trap.
The ECT development project had become a controversial political issue in Lanka with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's administration reneging a previously entered trilateral agreement with India and Japan to develop the ECT.
The port trade unions led by the ruling SLPP affiliates pressed for ditching of the India-Japan deal, claiming that the proposed deal with India's Adani Group was a sell-out of the lucrative ECT. They demanded that the ECT should run under the government-owned Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA).
The Colombo port trade unions opposed the proposal of investors from India and Japan buying 49 per cent stake in the ECT. They demanded the ECT to remain 100 per cent owned by the SLPA as opposed to the 51 per cent.
President Rajapaksa had declared that he wanted the India-Japan deal on the ECT to go ahead. However, after weeks-long protests by trade unions, the government cancelled the India-Japan ECT deal in February this year.
Subsequently, Adani Group in September sealed a deal with SLPA to develop and run the strategic Colombo Port's Western Container Terminal (WCT). As the first-ever Indian port operator in Sri Lanka, Adani Group will have a 51 per cent stake in WCT.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)