Chinese contractor puts India at ease

Dispute over Colombo Lotus Tower


Conceptual drawing of Colombo Lotus Tower

by Zacki Jabbar

Amidst allegations by some Indian analysts that the Colombo Lotus Tower, which was under construction, would be used by China to spy on New Delhi, the Chinese contractor says that the fears were unfounded, since the proprietor of the project was the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission.

The US$ 104.3 million Tower funded by China’s EXIM Bank would stand at 1,148.3 ft and spread over 30,600 square metres once completed. The contract for the project was signed between the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka ( TRCSL) and China National Electronic Import Export Corporation (CEIEC) and Long-March International Trade Company Limited (ALIT) in January 2012.

A spokesperson for CEIEC said that some Indian analysts had alleged that the Colombo Lotus Tower (CLT) would be used by China as an electronic surveillance facility against India. "It is a baseless allegation since the proprietor of the project is TRCSL. The tower would have Digital Terrestrial Television ISDB-T, telecommunications, leisure and commercial facilities, all of which would be used by Sri Lankans. It will also help boost tourism. The tower would not be an electronic surveillance facility as alleged. Surveillance relies on signal receiver, while digital broadcasting and television use signal transmitters. They are two different concepts and functions. So, there need not be any fears in this regard. The cost of the project is also reasonable."

He emphasized that China sincerely wished to see Sri Lanka achieve its full potential and would continue to provide whatever assistance that was requested, regardless of the accusations that had been leveled by some misinformed persons.

The CLT was to be located originally in Peliyagoda Town, but was later shifted to the waterfront of the picturesque Beira Lake. According to the project proposal, the towers main revenue sources would be from tourism and antenna leasing. It would function as a radio and television broadcasting antenna ISDB-T. The proposed DVB-T2 structure is to support 50 television services and 20 telecommunication service providers.

A telecommunications museum and restaurant would be located on the ground floor of the tower. Its podium was being designed to consist of six floors. The first floor of the podium is to accommodate a museum and two exhibition halls. The second floor would to be utilized for conference halls with seating space in excess of 400 people. Restaurants, supermarkets and food courts are to be situated on the third floor, while a 1000-seat auditorium would be located on the fourth floor. The fifth floor would include luxury hotel rooms and large ballrooms. The observation gallery is to be located on the seventh floor with landscaping planned in the form of a large water park.

The proposed Colombo Monorail and the BRT system was being planned to converge at a common ‘multi-modal hub’ located in close proximity to the Lotus Tower.

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