Sri Lanka Unveils South Asia’s Tallest Tower Funded By China

Colombo, PTI | Updated : 16 September 2019, 09:49 PM
Sri Lanka Unveils South Asia’s Tallest Tower Funded By China Under BRI (Twitter/LotusTowerrCMB)
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Sri Lanka Unveils South Asia’s Tallest Tower Funded By China Under BRI (Twitter/LotusTowerrCMB) /

Sri Lanka on Monday unveiled South Asia’s tallest tower, costing over USD 100 million, 80 per cent of which has been funded by China under the controversial Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The 350-metre-tall 17-storey Lotus Tower, located in the heart of Colombo city, comprises a television tower, a hotel, a telecommunications museum, restaurants, auditorium, an observation deck, a shopping mall and a conference centre.

The tower, spread over an area of 30,600 sq metre, is constructed at a cost of over USD 100 million, 80 per cent of which was funded by China, Sri Lankan media reports said.

According to a Colombo Page report, Sri Lanka and China signed the Lotus Tower agreement in 2012 under the Chinese government’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to build the highest TV tower in South Asia, with China National Electronics Import and Export Corporation (CEIEC) being the general contractor.

The BRI project, critics say, is saddling nations with debt.

India has been severely critical of the BRI, the pet project of Chinese President Xi Jinping, as it comprises the USD 50 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Though the tower is still under construction, President Maithripala Sirisena decided to open the structure to public.

“We still have not completed this project, but we decided to go ahead and open sections of the tower that can be accessed by people,” Sirisena said during the unveiling ceremony.

The project which began in 2012 under the then-president Mahinda Rajapakse faced numerous delays amid funding issues.

The Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) in a release said the Lotus Tower is foreseen to be one of the significant landmarks and an epitome of the country’s economy, culture and development.

The tower, which is expected to function as Sri Lanka’s ‘digital TV tower’, is built with fibre optic cables and is fully equipped with necessary telecommunication equipment.

First Published: Monday, September 16, 2019 09:39 PM
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