Catholics, fishermen and environmentalists protest reopening of Colombo Port City (Photo)
Colombo (AsiaNews) - Hundreds of Catholics, fishermen, activists and ordinary citizens have taken to the streets of Colombo to protest against the reopening of the construction project of the Port City funded by China. Shouting "Stop immediately, the project that will kill the fishermen", the protesters expressed their concern about an initiative that could cause "incalculable" damage and irreversibly destroy " the whole area’s water resources, marine and biological properties".
In the morning, 06th January, the People's Movement against Port City was held a public hearing over the EIA report at the Centre for Society and Religion (CSR) in Colombo. it was attended by more than 300 people. At the end of the public hearing, in the same evening they marched to the Department for the conservation of the coast and the Coastal Resource Management (Cccrmd) and presented a document to the same Department which was an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of 400 pages, containing 128 negative opinions about the construction.
Aruna Roshantha, a Catholic fisherman and one of the protest leaders, told AsiaNews: "The reopening of the project will be a blow for all fishermen. The environment in which we live, and we fish will be completely destroyed".
The construction project of the port city comes under the mandate of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and earmarks 1.5 billion by the China Communications Construction Co. Ltd., a holding company of China. From the beginning the project sparked the opposition of the local community, which succeeded in securing its suspension. Environmentalists and fishermen, however, have always feared that the Sri Lankan government could go back on its word and resume construction.
P. Nishanta, an Anglican pastor and member of the Christian Solidarity Movement (CSM) which is opposed to the port city, told AsiaNews: "This is not the only project that could develop Sri Lanka. The life of 15 thousand fishermen is endangered. Drinking water, the seabed and coral reefs will be damaged".