The controversial Colombo Port City project | (File photo)

The Sri Lankan government has cleared the decks for the controversial Colombo Port City project to resume, a foreign media reported today quoting Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister Karunanayake.

According to the South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong-based publication, “Executives at the related Chinese companies who cannot be identified separately told the Post that the project was expected to restart around February, after all the final details had been worked out”.

“We have given all the necessary clearances. Now it is up to the investors to sort out the minor details,” said Ravi Karunanayake. “On our part, the government is happy with the environmental impact assessment [EIA] report for the project. It is now under public consultation,” the newspaper said quoting Karunanayake.

Colombo Port City was among the several high profile Chinese-backed infrastructure ventures suspended after Rajapaksa lost in January’s Presidential election. The government at the time cited the absence of a proper Environment Impact Assessment as a major reason for pulling the US$1.4 billion project.

According to the newspaper, Karunanayake said the government had now asked the Chinese company, China Harbour Engineering Co Ltd (CHEC) to agree to a change in provision of freehold land into leasehold land to enable the project to resume.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday announced in Parliament that Sri Lanka would also not sign the proposed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with India.