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* Rock under Sri Lanka's Hambantota port blasted
Thu, Dec 1, 2011, 01:14 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Nov 30, Colombo: Blasting off the remaining parts of the massive seabed rock obstructing the entrance of Sri Lanka's newly constructed inland harbor at Hambantota has been completed a port official said Wednesday.

The massive rock was blocking the entry of large ships to the newly built port which was opened in November 2010 and the removal of the rock will fulfill international maritime requirement needed to operate a port.

The blasts were carried out by the Chinese contractor China Harbour Engineering Company who built the port. The blasting halted due to monsoon was re-started on October 08.

Authorities had reportedly underestimated the extent of the rock at the mouth of the harbor and the expensive underwater dredging and blasting of the required the government to allocate an additional cost close to one fourth of the total expenditure for the harbor.

The government borrowed US$ 307 million from China for the project and had to borrow an additional US$ 42 million to blast the huge rock.

According to the Chief Engineer Ajil Hewageegana the removal of the rock pieces will continue for another three weeks. Larges ships will then be able to enter the port, he said.



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