- Published on Tuesday, 06 August 2013 13:28
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President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that he has successfully fulfilled the mandate given to him by the people in 2005. He said that the contribution made towards rebuilding the country during the last eight years is unmatched even by the totality of work accomplished through the previous 60 years since independence.
The President made these comments at the function held at the Colombo South Port Monday (05) to inaugurate the first stage of the Colombo Port Expansion Project.
The President said the era when the country’s development process remained stagnant is now over. Describing the new initiative, the President said it will enable the port of Colombo to enhance its recognition as a regional hub in navigation, with new facilities to provide services for the complete satisfaction of shipping lines.
Explaining further, President Rajapaksa said that in the past it took 37 years to build this harbour which had a breakwater of only 2.5 Km’s. Presently a breakwater nearly 7 Km’s in length, one of the biggest in the world has been construction within a period of only five years, he pointed out.
The President said that the facilities at the new port will make it the only port in South Asia with a deep water terminal for mega container ships. The new breakwater has a depth of 18 metres, compared to the previous 14 to 15 metres, enabling it to handle bigger cargo ships that require deeper docking berths. The expansion allows the port to increase its capacity by at least 50 percent.
The President also said that further expansion in the area will see another 500 acres being added by reclaiming the sea for a state-of-the-art new city. He said that this will expand the country’s existing land area and will eventually alter Sri Lanka’s map as well.
He further said history reveals that even during ancient days Sri Lanka had important links with other countries because of its ports. The Port of Godawaya in the South, Trincomalee, Dambakolapatuna and Lanka Patuna were some of these ports. However, the President pointed out that Sri Lanka could not reap the full potential of these ports for the country’s benefit due to the invasion by foreign forces. (niz)