Colombo Port City Project – UPSC Prelims

Colombo Port City Project:
  • Colombo Port City Project is a large-scale integrated city being developed near Colombo, Sri Lanka.
  • Purpose: The city is being developed as a Special Economic Zone(SEZ). It aims to attract billions of dollars for trade, banking and offshore services similar to what is available in Dubai and Singapore,
  • Developed by: China Communication Construction is developing the project through its subsidiary China Harbor Engineering Construction (CHEC).
  • Administered by: The Port City will be administered by a commission with unprecedented powers to fast track investment approvals.
  • Benefits: The transactions within Port City will be denominated in foreign currency. Further, all salaries earned by any worker of the Port City will be tax-exempt.
  • Significance of the Project: It is the single biggest private sector development in Sri Lanka. It is also expected to transform Colombo into a commerce, tourism and cultural hub.
Criticism of the Project: The port city has been criticised for several reasons:
  • Environmentalists claim the port city contains many environmental hazards. They believe that the adverse environmental impact of the project would be far greater than the economic benefits.
  • Maritime sector veterans pointed out the dangers Sri Lanka may face due to giving outright ownership of land to China. That too especially in a high-security zone. This may impact Sri Lanka’s sovereignty.
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