Colombo Port City Project criticised at People’s Tribunal; resumption doubtful

Colombo Port City Project criticised at People’s Tribunal; resumption doubtful

Colombo: Environmentalists and members of the general public have panned the controversial China-funded Colombo Port City Project (CPCP) as one that has caused adverse environmental impact in many parts of the country, and that, in fact, was wrongly launched before a proper environmental impact assessment study had been carried out.

These opinions were expressed during a People’s Tribunal that was held before a panel of judges on Thursday at the Colombo Public Library by Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) to ascertain the “reality and truth” behind the fate of the $1.4bn project, being constructed by ‘Fortune 500’ company China Construction Communication Co (CCCC).

Environment Conservation Trust director Sajeewa Chamikara asserted that there were serious lapses and shortcomings in CPCP’s Environment Assessment Report (EAR) prepared by the University of Moratuwa, on the strength of which approval was granted to the project.

“No maritime biologists and maritime archaeologists were included in the team that was entrusted with the task of preparing the EAR of the project,” Chamikara said. “Nor was the report kept open for public dialogue.

“Many areas in the country have been experiencing adverse environmental impact due to CPCP. We also do not have any assessment of the archaeological damage caused in the sea area reclaimed under this project. The Department of Coast Conservation should be held responsible for giving approval for this project.”

The criticism heaped on CPCP, which had been was suspended on March 6 this year, could jeopardise its resumption promised by President Maithripala Sirisena to the Chinese government.

Shirish Nadkarni

Shirish Nadkarni is a management consultant and freelance international journalist, who has been writing on all spheres of Indian business for the past three decades for a number of reputed overseas publications. An avid sportsman, Nadkarni has represented India in international veterans' badminton since 1997, and was the 55+ age group doubles world champion in 2005.

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