- Says promise of not selling State assets proved false following reports of India’s Adani Group being frontrunner to get ECT development project
- Backs original MoU to develop ECT with India and Japan support
Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) parliamentarian Dr. Harsha de Silva yesterday accused the Government of misleading the public on the East Container Terminal (ECT) being developed by the State following media reports that it could be given to India’s Adani Group.
International news agency Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that the Adani Group was the frontrunner to develop Sri Lanka’s stalled ECT. However, ahead of the Parliamentary Election in August, following pressure from trade unions, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa pledged to exit a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the previous Government to jointly develop the ECT with support from India and Japan. Under that agreement Japan was to provide the funds while India was to develop the terminal. Responding to questions at a press briefing yesterday, Dr. de Silva said the Government had misled the public but emphasised that he still backed the MoU signed by the former administration.
“Where are the ‘patriotic forces’ who launched fast-unto-death strikes to stop ECT being given to foreign investors, today?” he questioned, citing international reports that the Government has entered in to an agreement to sell 49% stake of the terminal and 100% of the management to Indian giant, Advani Port and Special Economic Zone Ltd.
Dr. de Silva pointed out that earlier this year trade union action against the proposed sale to an Indian-Japanese joint investment on the ECT, saw activist meet the Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa at his residence in Hambantota, where they were given assurances that the ECT will not be given to a foreign investor.
“The Government in the lead up to elections strongly emphasised that it will not sell national assets to foreign investors. They pledged to keep the 100% of the terminal in local hands. So, the Government has misled the public.
“The Government is today incapable of being transparent with the public about the promises they made and doesn’t want to have to answer for their actions, not only on infrastructure projects but also on other matters, they are hiding behind this curfew and taking decisions contrary to what they said they will do.”
However, Dr. de Siva maintained that he supported the ECT being developed through a joint venture and that the previous Government had a Memorandum of Understanding with Indian and Japan. Silva took to Twitter stating that the Government had lied to the public.
“My position has been #SriLanka ECT Colombo should be jointly developed. MOU signed by t previous gov was keep 100% ownership of terminal w 51% stake f SLPA n 49% f India-Japan in t Management entity. @PodujanaParty said no way! Never! But today? What lies!” he tweeted.