The Social Responsibility Report of the CHEC Port City Colombo Pvt Ltd for the year 2018-2019 was launched yesterday (13 Jan) at Kingsbury Hotel, Colombo.
The report highlighted that fact that the project has successfully achieved 12 million safe work hours with zero accidents with the participation of 4,224 workers.
It also said that priority was given to the local elements and localized procurement where elements such as stones, diesel, cement and steel were purchased locally while providing systematic training to 1,500 local suppliers.
The Port City Colombo project also created job opportunities that directly supported 8,000 locals.
The commencement of Port City Colombo was officially declared on 17 September 2014 in the presence of then-President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The project had an initial foreign direct investment of USD 1.4 billion from China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC) with the targeted completion in 2041.
Speaking at the event Project Director Port City Colombo Nihal Fernando said that Social Responsibility was initiated with the design of the project, where under the impact assessment study the company was subjected to 72 conditions for being cleared for undertaking the filling of the land.
These conditions he said was for the benefiting and the enjoyment of the people in Sri Lanka.
He added that RS 550 million were allocated for the livelihood of the fishermen in the area from Negombo to Wattala who might get affected by the Port City Project as sand for the filling was taken from a pit in Negombo.
Accordingly, Rs 300 million was out of the Rs 550 million was allocated to address coastal erosion issues such as restoration of beaches and building of breakwaters and approximately Rs 154 million were allocated to 77 fishery organisations to provide financial assistance to the fishermen community.
Fernando said that the CHEC Port City Colombo Pvt Ltd (company) established a separate office in Negombo to look after the fisher families where the company also took steps to train and upgrade the fishing skippers to become Trawler-owners so that they can go for multi-day fishing.
Also, he said steps were taken to facilitate and regenerate prawns and crabs in the Negombo Lagoon and then release them to the sea.
Chinese Ambassador Cheng Xueyuan addressing the event said that the Port City Colombo is an important project under the Belt and Road Initiative which will benefit the people of Sri Lanka and that he is honoured to be a part of such an iconic and historic project in Sri Lanka.
He also said that China has always maintained a close relationship with Sri Lanka under the principle of extensive consultation towards contribution and sharing its benefits.