JO Voices Raising Concerns Over Hambantota

Joint Opposition, raises its concerns with China over the government’s plans to allocate 15,000 acres for investments in the south of the country which will mainly include Chinese investments.

Joint Opposition member and parliamentarian, Udaya Gammanpila said that while opposition legislators were not against China’s decision to develop the island country, they were against the government’s ‘terms and conditions’ laid down to hand over an 80 percent stake of the Hambantota Port to a Chinese company and the allocation of 15,000 acres.

Gammanpila said that a letter, mentioning its concerns were handed over to President Maithripala Sirisena and the Chinese Embassy in Colombo last week.

They said if a possibility arises they will discuss their concerns with Chinese officials directly.

“China is a very dear friend and we know they will understand our concerns.

The government has allocated 15,000 acres of land which belong to the public. They will be forcibly evacuated,” Gammanpila said.

He further said that the Hambantota Port will be crucial to determine Sri Lanka’s role in the future, and such valuable assets should not be handed over to any foreign country.

He said although the deal with the Chinese company was on a 99 year lease, this was beyond their lifetime, and China would be reluctant to leave the venture after 99 years.

“The government should not invite anyone who they cannot tell to leave. Such valuable assets such as the Hambantota Port should be within our control,” he said.

Joint Opposition member and Parliamentarian, Vasudeva Nanayakkara said that allocating 15,000 acres in the south for investments was a clear violation of the people’s right in the southern district who would be forced out of their lands.

The opposition would continue to protest against the government’s plans till such time it was done in a legal manner, he added.

 

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