CCCC & govt. officials shy away from public tribunal

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Questions on the future of the Port City project continues after the failure of the key stakeholder, China Communications and Construction Company (CCCC) Ltd, and Government representatives to take part at the Public Tribunal held last week in Colombo to discuss the controversial project.

The tribunal which was organized by Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) was held on April 9 at the Public Library Auditorium and had invited the CCCC, Minister of Policy Planning and Economic Affairs Dr. Harsha de Silva, Deputy Minister of Investment promotion Eran Wickremaratne and Minister Ports, Shipping and Aviation Arjuna Ranatunga.

The CCCC had informed TISL that it would not take part at a public forum as inquiries launched by the Government of Sri Lanka was ongoing.

However, the Ministers had not arrived for the session despite prior notice by the organizers. However, the TISL said Ranatunga had informed the organizers that he was unable to participate as he would be flying out of the country.

In addition, representatives from the Ports Authority, Coast Conservation Department, and the Central Environment Authority (CEA) also failed to attend the event despite prior notice.  The public tribunal saw the participation of several including environmentalists, religious leaders and legal experts.

The tribunal was chaired by Attorney-at-Law S.G. Punchihewa, Chandrapala Kumarage and Dr. Jayampathi Samarakoon.  The tribunal was organized to discuss the Port City project and the possible impacts that it could cause on the country.

Meanwhile, the CHEC Port City, a subsidiary of China Communication Construction Company (CCCC) and the Project Company of the Colombo Port City last week said that the Government was yet to invite the Company for a discussion or issue a directive to the company regarding the project review process, which is currently underway.

The statement by the company said that it had requested for an opportunity to express its concerns regarding the temporary suspension to the GoSL appointed Review Committee, and was willing to corporate with the committee during the review process.  The project was temporarily stalled by the Government on March 6. The Company had earlier stated that it incurred a loss of Rs.50 million daily owing to the suspension of the project.

The Government had appointed the review committee to probe the issue. However, it stated that it had not cancelled any projects but were only reviewing them.

From left: Dr. Jayampathi Samarakoon, Attorneys-at-Law S.G. Punchihewa and Chandrapala Kumarage at the Public Tribunal

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