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 New Port to usher industrialization

President Mahinda Rajapaksa releasing the water into the Hambantota Harbour Basin yesterday while Sri Lanka Ports Authority Chairman Priyath Wickrama looks on.

Sri Lanka has stepped into an industrial economy from the long existing agricultural economy with the construction of the Hambantota Harbour which paves the way to an industrial revolution in the country, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday.

He made these comments at the water filling ceremony of the new Hambantota International Harbour soon after he poured a pot of water into the excavated harbour basin at the auspicious time of 9:58 a.m. to mark the completion of the first phase of the massive construction project.

President Rajapaksa said the new era of economic progress under the emergence of an industrial economy would double the per capita income of Sri Lanka to US$ 4,000 from the current US$ 2,000.

 “This is a new era of economic progress. The government expects to introduce new economic fundamentals free of any foreign ideology and based on our own policies blending with Sri Lanka’s cultural an historic background. On May 19 last year, Sri Lanka closed a chapter in its history that was marred with hatred, violence and destruction. The new chapter that has been unfolded gives hopes and goals so that today’s generation can take the country to new heights with resolve and commitment,” the president said.

He said as a schoolboy he watched hundreds of ships sail either way from the Far East to the West and from the West to the Far East passing Hambantota harbour and that his dream of a new harbour at Hambantota had come true.

“I do no intend to develop Hambantta habour as only a supply point on the international   maritime highway in the Indian Ocean. There will be a range of new industries and services in Hambantota and nearby districts that would generate thousands of employment opportunities. There are certain elements who do not want to see Sri Lanka as a strong and economically independent nation. The government has brought about a new economic era while fighting a war against the most ruthless and powerful terrorist out fit in the world,” the president said.

He said the government would construct an international airport in Mattala in the Hambanota district and refurbish Palali and Ratmalana airports.

“The railway line from Matara will be extended to Kataragama and the country will enjoy 100 per cent electricity supply by 2015. The South Colombo Port Development project will transform the Port of Colombo to one of the busiest ports in the region while smaller ports such as Arugam Bay, Mannar, Beruwala and are also in line for development. The industrialization of Sri Lanka will be based on the five concepts of the Mahinda Chintana policy framework which envisages to make Sri Lanka the center of naval, air, technology, tourism and trade in Asia,” the president said.

He said Sri Lanka was an island blessed with so many ports and these ports with historical significance have contributed to shape the destiny of this island. 

“The arrival of Prince Vijaya, the hair relic of Lord Buddha and the arrival many princes and warlords have taken place by way of the port. Even the first navigator who drew the first world map Ptolamy has marked Mahatitta as a port in ancient Sri Lanka,” the president said.

Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne and Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa also spoke. Sri Lanka Ports Authority Chairman Priyath Wickrama delivered the welcome address.


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