Govt. has signed East Terminal agreement with India - JVP | Daily News

Govt. has signed East Terminal agreement with India - JVP

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna yesterday accused the government of signing the preliminary agreement on selling the East Terminal of the Colombo Port Last Tuesday (May 28), with India.

The JVP said it would organise a strong political movement and trade union effort to defeat the said agreement. It also urged all trade unions of the Ports Authority to unite to make this endeavour a success.

JVP MP Bimal Rathnayake was speaking at a press briefing yesterday morning.

MP Rathnayake said the Sri Lankan government had signed the said preliminary agreement with India during the time of the recent Lok Sabha Elections.

“According to our sources, the instruction to sign the said agreement reached Sri Lanka on May 26. These instructions specified that the agreement should be signed prior to Modi’s swearing-in ceremony. By that time, BJP had secured the victory of 275 electorates. When Modi’s party secured 303 electorates, the Sri Lankan government was instructed to sell the East Terminal of the Colombo Port to India,” JVP MP Rathnayake alleged.

The preliminary agreement states that the Sri Lanka government would own 51 percent of the terminal, while the rest would be owned by the governments of India and Japan. It is not clear how much of the 49 percent would belong to Japan and how much to India, Rathnayake said.

“As much as we know, Japan has no political interest. But India on the other hand has been eyeing this terminal for a long time. This agreement damages our economic sovereignty. A port is not a fair. It is a place of national security and economic security,” he said.

MP Bimal Rathnayake also said that 10,000 employees attached to the Ports Authority are at a risk of losing their jobs due to the signing of this agreement.

He also alleged that then Ports and Shipping Minister Arjuna Ranatunga had clearly pointed out in two Cabinet papers that the Sri Lanka Ports Authority has the capacity to carry out the functions of the East Terminal of the Colombo Port. Rathnayake said then Minister Ranatunga’s ministerial portfolio was removed for holding this view.

The JVP MP also said Sri Lanka has been caught between the power struggle of China, India, and the USA at the cost of its national security and economic sovereignty. Sri Lanka is now thrown into a position where it has to either sell or give away its national resources as ransoms to survive this power struggle. This situation has worsened since 2010.

MP Rathnayake further observed that of the eight container terminals in the country, only three are owned by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority. Of the three, only one is actively engaged in container handling.

Quoting a report prepared by the General Treasury, MP Rathnayake said the revenue increase of the Ports Authority has declined significantly from 2014 to 2018. “According to the report of the General Treasury, the main reason for this decline is the fierce competition for the Sri Lanka Ports Authority from private domestic ports operators,” he said.

MP Rathnayake held both the President and the Prime Minister responsible for letting other countries take advantage of the crisis that Sri Lanka is presently in.

Asked about the Counter-Terrorism Act, MP Rathnayake said the government is trying to drag the country into a military regime. “I will tell you what Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is going to do now. Earlier, he was going to abolish the Prevention of Terrorism Act and enact the Counter-Terrorism Act. Now, hiding behind the Easter Sunday terror attacks, he is going to keep the Prevention of Terrorism Act while separately enacting the Counter-Terrorism Act as well. That will only lead to a military regime which none of us want. Such a move may ensure the security of the VIPs, but not the public,” Rathnayake said.

Meanwhile, asked about upcoming elections, JVP MP Rathnayake said the JVP will root for a General Election.

Speaking of the recent controversy over a doctor attached to the Kurunegala Teaching Hospital, MP Rathnayake said if the government believes that local experts are not sufficient to carry out the investigation, foreign experts should also be added to the panel of investigators. 


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