East Container Terminal: Objections mount against India

By Maheesha Mudgamuwa

Trade unions attached to the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) urged the Government not to hand over the East Container Terminal (ECT) to India and instead to develop through the SLPA.

Speaking to The Morning, All Ceylon Port General Workers’ Union (ACPGWU) General Secretary Chandrasiri Mahagamage alleged that a proposal has been made by the SLPA under the Government to unload the gantry cranes that had been brought to the ECT, and that the Engineering Division has spent more than Rs. 20 million to install the three cranes that arrived by ship recently.

However, the SLPA has not yet received approval to unload the cranes, he stressed.
Mahagamage also noted that the SLPA would have a future only if the ECT is protected and therefore, these cranes must be set up this week.

“We have given the Government a week to do this,” the union leader said.
As alleged by the union, as a result of this delay, the SLPA is incurring a loss of more than Rs. 10 million as demurrage charges, daily, since 26 June.

“This money belongs to the SLPA,” he stressed.

In the meantime, National People’s Power (NPP) alleged that India has been delaying the development activities of the ECT.

Addressing the media, NPP candidate K.D. Lalkantha said: “We have been informed that India has intervened to stop the setting up of the equipment that had been purchased. They have delayed the development activities.

“Aren’t they trying to give the ECT to India?”