49% of East Container terminal will be given to India's Adani Group, other stakeholders; President

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that the plan was to develop the East Container terminal as an investment project that has 51% ownership by the Government of Sri Lanka and the remaining 49% as an investment by India's Adani Group and other stakeholders.

President Rajapaksa assured representatives of Port Trade Unions during a discussion at the Presidential Secretariat on Wednesday that the East Container Terminal of the Colombo Port will not be sold or leased.

The previous administration had agreed to sell the East Terminal to India. The agreement envisaged obtaining a loan from Japan after sale and purchasing construction equipment with the loan money. President pointed out that after the present Government negotiated with India on the contract it was possible to reach an agreement to retain 51% of the ownership and the control of the Terminal under the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA). President emphasized that he would not allow causing any harm to the sovereignty or independence of the country when investments are arranged.

The previous government had leased the Hambantota Port to the Government of China for 99 years. After coming to power, the present Government in consultation with China took over the responsibility for the security of the Port in to its hand, President noted.

The President said that the East Container Terminal Development was planned after reviewing all the factors including the regional geopolitical concerns, sovereignty of the country, revenue and employment generation potential. President Rajapaksa explained that the Eastern Terminal will be “sustainably developed” under the investment programme. India contributes 66% of the East Terminal re-export operations. 9% is re-exports to Bangladesh and the rest to several other countries.

The President said that there should be no doubt about it and asked all the trade union representatives to submit their proposals and ideas on this programme.

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