Talking with India to develop Trincomalee as main harbor in Bay of Bengal: PM

Talking with India to develop Trincomalee as main harbor in Bay of Bengal: PM

January 19, 2017   11:10 pm

- By Yusuf Ariff

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says that India is welcome to come and invest in the facilities around the Hambantota port, for which the government is setting aside 15,000 acres of land to be made available for investors. 

In an exclusive interview with NDTV on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, he also clarifies that Sri Lanka has not given this land away only to the Chinese.
“There was no 15,000 acres. Of the two bidders, it was given to China Merchants and they wanted 1,300 acres because they want to make it the international container terminal for Indian Ocean.” 

“We also have to develop cargo from Sri Lanka and that meant, according to the Chinese, at least 2,000 factories – large ones,” he said. 

“Then looking at the land for the factories, industrial estates, the roads, the water supply system, the warehouses and then housing for the additional people, about 15,000 acres of land needed to be available if it’s going to be a success.” 

Wickremesinghe pointed out that 15,000 acres had to be available for the government of Sri Lanka to make available to investors and to the provincial councils to start schools. 

He stated that not only China, but anyone can invest in that area even India.

“We want India to come in. It will happen but there are two or three issues. One is we want to complete the Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement between India and Sri Lanka, where we envisage closer cooperation with the five southern states with us and Singapore.”  

The PM said that the ETCA agreement will be finalised before mid this year.

“We are also now talking with India to develop Trincomalee as the main harbor for the Bay of Bengal.”

“That will happen. There is no sunken cost, we don’t require breakwaters.”    

But at the moment the whole of Trincomalee is being planned out by infrastructure consultant Surbana Jurong, which is also doing Amravati in the state of Maharashtra, he said. “And once those plans are done and there will be large areas for tourism and then with India and hopefully Japan will also take a stake in it.”

He said that the Indians are also interested in other projects in Sri Lanka which the government is talking with them especially in the northern area. 

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