Port employees staged a silent protest against the sale of the East Container Terminal on Thursday.
“We are ready to raise funds to operate the East Container Terminal. If the government is willing to safeguard the most valuable resource of the country, we are ready to be its investors,” General Secretary of the Progressive Trade Union on Commerce, Industry, and Services Shyamal Sumanaratne said.
He said “If the government wants to handover something to India, give them the parliament or the temple trees. Leave the East Container Terminal that we built, alone.”
“If the government tries to sell this to the Adani Group or any other company, we have lined up all port employees to oppose it. We have the technology and the capability to do this, so let us. We have come forward to safeguard this,” Chairman of the Liberated Port Workers’ Union Prasanna Kalutharage said.
General Secretary of the All Ceylon General Port Employee Union Niroshan Gorakanage said “We challenge minister Wimal Weerawansa and Gotabaya Rajapaksa to send their representatives to the East Container Terminal. We will show how this is done,”
Meanwhile, when questioned by journalists, Minister Namal Rajapaksa said the government will not engage in any sale of state property as it is against the political policies of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs urged that foreign investment will be brought to the country.
Meanwhile, Minister of Ports and Shipping – Rohitha Abeygunawardena said that the Cabinet proposal that cites the East Container Terminal of the Colombo Port being jointly developed with the Adani Group of Companies was approved by the Cabinet.
“The approval has been given by the Cabinet. That is just one proposal with regards to the East Container Terminal,” Minister of Ports and Shipping Rohitha Abeygunawardena said.
He added “We need another USD 600 Mn to USD 700 Mn. After we find an investor, operations of the East Container Terminal will be underway with 51 percent owned by us. The Indian Government has proposed the name of a potential investor. The Indian Government has proposed the name of the Adani Group of Companies”