Sri Lanka’s Central Environmental Authority is to do a full environmental impact assessment (EIA) on the suspended Port City project by the state-owned China Communications Construction Company on reclaimed land off Colombo, the Sri Lankan government announced on Thursday. The EIA is expected to take four months.
The government has also decided to shift responsibility for the project from the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) to the Urban Development Authority (UDA), government spokesman and health minister Rajitha Senaratne said. “The SLPA has no authority to do the Port City project. The best organisation to do the project is the UDA,” he told a news conference. “The government will consider allowing the project to restart after proper environmental studies have been done.”
Senaratne said that although the Chinese had claimed to have done the required environmental studies, a committee of experts appointed by the government to examine the project had deemed they were inadequate.
The new government suspended work on the Chinese-funded USD1.4 billion project in March saying it had procedural shortcomings. The move was part of a re-assessment of major Chinese-funded projects that had begun under the former regime, ousted in the January 2015 presidential poll, on the grounds that some were too expensive and not commercially viable.