Chinese firm confirms suspension of Colombo port city project

Colombo, PTI | Updated : 08 March 2015, 08:23 AM

A Chinese firm associated with the controversial USD 1.5 billion port city project here today officially announced the suspension of construction work on the site.

Communications Construction Company Limited (CCCC), A global Fortune 500 public listed company, confirmed receiving government orders temporarily suspending work on the site and said it will continue to comply with the laws of the country.

“CHEC Port City Colombo Private Limited, a company which is fully owned by CCCC, has received official communication from the Secretary to the Minister of Ports, Shipping & Aviation, communicating a decision taken by the Cabinet Ministers, directing the suspension of the ongoing work for the Port City Project, with immediate effect,” CCCC said in a statement.

The company further said that it will submit valid permits And approvals issued by the relevant government authorities.

“The company will be taking all necessary steps to provide These requested documents as instructed by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Aviation to abide by the notification received,” the statement said.

“CCCC will continue to comply with the laws of the country And follow the necessary guidelines issued by the Government for a mega development project of this nature,” it added.

The Colombo Port City was a pet project of the former President Mahinda Rajapsksa who was relying on enhanced Chinese investments in the island country.

In the run up to the January presidential election, Rajapaksa was the subject of opposition criticism over the project.

The new government led by President Maithripala Sirisena alleged that the real estate deal with China was signed without cabinet approval and without following due procedures, hinting at corruption.

The development was to include shopping malls, water sports, golf, hotels, apartments and marinas.

The project, expected to play a key role in China’s ambitious ‘Maritime Silk Road’ project in India’s backyard, was seen as the single largest private sector development ever in the island.

In September last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping had inaugurated the construction of the project, part of China’s attempt to restore its ancient prestige and historical links along the maritime route through Southeast and South Asia.

The foreign direct investment by CCCC for the creation of the Colombo Port City Project is USD 1.5 billion and the project is estimated to generate 83,000 local jobs.

The project when fully completed is expected to attract international investments with a total value estimated at USD 13 billion, the company said.

First Published: Sunday, March 08, 2015 08:21 AM
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