Colombo Port City : British experts dispelled environmental concerns   -China Harbour

by Zacki Jabbar in Beijing

Constructor of  the  half completed Colombo Port City Project, China Harbour Engineering Company says that it had even consulted British experts with regard to environmental concerns, even though the company was not bound to do so in a Private-Public partnership.

The project stands suspended following the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government calling for a review of the agreement with the previous Rajapaksa administration.

Tang Qiaoliang , Vice President of China Harbour Engineering Company ( CHEC) which was a subsidiary of China Communications Construction Company Limited (CCCC) said last week at his Beijing office, that under the framework of Public-Private partnership, it was the Sri Lankan governments responsibility to obtain an Environmental Impact Assessment report on the  Colombo Port City Project.

 Nevertherless,  private  British environmental experts when consulted had ruled out any damage being caused to marine life as a result of the CPCP,he noted adding that in response to queries from the current government CHEC had made it clear that  in terms of the contract signed with the previous Rajapaksa administration they were not liable to compensate  for example, fisherman who may loose their livelihood.

 Qiaoliang said that CHEC had worked with six Sri Lankan governments on various projects and  had viewed all of them as cooperative partners,"We, attach great importance to quality and want to assist Sri Lanka become the gateway to South Asia. Political changes do not concern us, nor do we care about the views expressed by individual ruling party members. Our legal agreement is with the State and we are looking forward to an amicable settlement which  would ensure the completion of the CPCP in terms of the original contract. CHEC established a Regional Management Center in Colombo in 2011 after having assessed Sri Lanka’s potential."

The Vice President recalled having worked in Sri Lanka for twelve years and during that period CHEC had employed many locals and won their confidence.

Qiaoliang said that his company  had many offices worldwide  including in India, Bangladesh  and  Papua New Guinea which  also employed many Sri Lankan nationals.Plans were underway to build a resort in Malidves and that too would have Sri Lankans on its staff.

 Following the 2004 Tsunami  CHEC had moved its office in Trincomalee to the  South of the country with the objective of helping  the victims. It, had provided relief  to a large number of persons and also rehabilitated the village of Kudavila. In 2010 the company granted scholarships to 10 children from poor families, each worth RMB 3.5 million,he noted. 

 The CHEC is an engineering contractor providing infrastructure construction, such as marine engineering, dredging and reclamation, road and bridge, railways, airports and plant construction. As a dredger it is rated as the second largest in the world, carrying out contracts in Asia, Africa, and Europe.The company was established in December 2005 during the merger of China Harbour Engineering Company Group (founded in 1980) with China Road and Bridge Corporation into CCCC.

 Qiaoliang said that CHEC had won large contracts for dredging, particularly in the Middle East and Asia. In January 2011, it was awarded an US$ 880 million contract for the first phase of the New Doha Port project, which involved the excavation of 58 million cubic metres of material ,covering an area of 3.2 square kilometres to a depth of 18 metres and building of an eight kilometer long quay wall and a five kilometer rubble breakwater. "The rest of our core business is in construction in the fields of marine engineering, road and bridge, airports, power plants, railway, water supply, and environmental protection. We are working on more than 100 construction projects across the world."

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