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First phase of Hambantota project nearing completion

The first phase of the construction of the Hambantota harbor is nearing completion with over 75% work successfully completed at present, Sri Lanka Ports Authority sources said. The port project is scheduled to be completed by 2010, one year ahead of the scheduled time period. The project is expected to be completed in four phases and would take 15 years for the completion of the entire project. The harbor will enable 33 vessels to berth at any given time post-completion, while modern technology will be utilized to handle the operational work.

A key aspect of the new economic ties between Sri Lanka and China was the agreement by China to fund the Hambantota Port Development Project and related activities at a cost of US$450 million. There was also an additional agreement to fund the new oil refinery costing US$1 billion. Minister of Ports, Dilan Perera in an interview said that the Ministry of Ports has under taken five mega development projects including Colombo South Harbour Project, Oluvil, Galle and Kankesanturai harbour projects. “Hambantota might be the second biggest city in Sri Lanka. It is an entirely new place which consists of a new port, airport, highways and a huge amount of commercial buildings,” the Ports Minister said recently.

The Minister also noted that a comprehensive plan has been drawn up to develop the Galle harbor with a separate area dedicated for Yacht Marina. He said that the UNESCO Plan will also be taken into consideration when implementing the new changes to the Galle development project.

Speaking on the current development programs that are underway in the southern region Minister Perera said that work is being done in the aviation sector as well. “The new airport in the Southern Province will be a reality very soon” the Minister noted while adding that with the construction of the Arrival and Departure Lounges at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) a range of new features have been added to the airport. “The entire BIA is looking much better than what it was. It has been able to cater to more aircraft now. When the second airport comes up in Weeravila, more airlines and tourists will come to Sri Lanka,” he said. Minister Perera said that the amalgamation of sea cargo and air cargo could immensely benefit the speedy development of the country.

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