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Tuesday, December 10, 2019
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 Hambantota Harbour Development Project

Newly constructed coffer dam at Hambantota Harbour

The Hambantota Harbour Development Project, of which the first phase was successfully completed months ahead of it scheduled time with a water filling ceremony attended by President Mahinda Rajapaksa Sunday to fill the Port’s inland-built 50 hectare basin is a landmark of Sri Lanka’s economic transformation that leads the country to a Maritime Economy, Sri Lanka Ports Authority Chairman Dr. Priyath Bandu Wickrama said.

Dr. Wickrama said at the harbour’s water filling ceremony Sunday that no international power will be able to prevent Sri Lanka from becoming a commercial and economic nerve centre that will control naval functions and international trade once the harbour is built.

The harbour can accommodate any large ship, he said.

In five years it will be controlling global trade and naval activities, he pointed out.

“The project is one of a kind that is going to revolutionize the naval field,” Dr. Wickrama said. Reflecting on incidents that had taken place when the Ports Authority had begun to draw plans for the construction of the harbour in 2001, Dr. Wickrama said discussions which President Rajapaksa had with engineers and administrators of Ports Authority as the Ports Development Minister then, gave vent to the project’s conceptualization.

“The President discussed with Ports Authority officials about the harbour again in 2004, then as the Prime Minister. Some officials and planners opposed the idea of constructing the harbour describing it as an impossible task. He said on that day ‘please let those who say that this cannot be done be gone.

Leave me with a group that believe they can do this.’ “It was upon these words that the project saw the light of day,” he explained. As the 30-year war against terrorism was ended by the President in spite of all kinds of internal and external pressures without submitting to their whims and fancies, the Hambantota Harbour Project was carried out while many opposed and discouraged its construction, he said.

Dr. Wickrama said that they could not have completed the initial phase of the project, if not for 450 families that agreed to leave their homes from the project site. He thanked the families for their support stating that the families left the area without haggling to a Government-offered relocation program, thus paving the way to expedite the project.

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