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Colombo, a world class ‘Smart City’ soon

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Colombo will be transformed into a world class ‘Smart City’ for South Asia through the port city on which already 90 percent of land-filling has been completed and land reclamation to be completed by mid next year, Assistant General Manager, CHEC Port City, Colombo, Simon Tham told the 31st Annual Conference on ‘Innovative Digitisation’ organized by the Organisation of Professional Associations of Sri Lanka in Colombo on Thursday.

“We have completed a vast stretch of land reclamation and with 270 hectares of land reclaimed the landmass of Sri Lanka will be changed by next year. This is an advent of prosperity and a better future for Sri Lanka,” Tham said.

According to Tham CHEC Port City has already invested US$ 1.4 billion in land reclamation of the city and it is expected to attract foreign direct investment worth over US$ 13 billion for real estate development. Work on the Colombo port city project is scheduled to be completed by 2041.

“The port city is all about people and not totally about trade and commerce. Global connectivity is the key for development today. The port city will boost B2B, B2C and peer to peer connectivity,” Tham said.

Work on phase one of the city comprising the construction of the Financial City and a marina which commenced this year is expected to be completed by 2020. Around 58 hectares of land of the 270 hectares of reclaimed land under phase is expected to be offer for grabs.

“The port city is for all and not for the affluent as speculated by some. It is your children, grand children and generations to come who would benefit from the city,” Tham said adding that around $ 13 billion investments will be made on schools, marinas and housing in the next 20 to 30 years.

Tham was very optimistic that Sri Lanka will benefit immensely from the port city which will attract high net worth investors from the region which will help boost trade and investment into the country.

“Blessed with natural resources Sri Lanka has a lot to offer investors. Singapore hasn’t natural resources as Sri Lanka. It needs to import many things.

There will be over 250,000 people living and working, 750,000 sq meters of recreational space and 1,000 apartments to be built over time in the city,” Tham said.

However, eco activists from the very outset have been harping and reiterating the need to scrap the project which would have major environmental repercussions in the long term.

A participant at the conference posed a question as to what measures would the developer take to address the water level that is expected to rise at the Beira Lake due to the high rise building to be constructed at the city.

Environmentalist says the water level at the Beira Lake could rise by over six feet due to the impact of high rise building.

Tham said that he did not see it a problem to dwellers and added that there should be a dialogue between engineers and environmentalists to separate meet from fat.

He asked would have Sri Lankans allowed such a project if it is to cause environmental problems.

CHEC Port City Colombo (PVt) Ltd, a subsidiary of China Harbour Engineering Company is the developer of the port city.

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