Jan 12, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Minister of Ports and Shipping Arjuna Ranatunga today raised suspicions that there is a conspiracy against bringing foreign investors to develop the Hambanthota Port.
Addressing media at a religious event held in Baduragoda today, Minister Ranatunga said he there is speculation that a major country in the South Asia region would lose businesses to Sri Lanka when construction of a canal with the Chinese funds in Thailand is completed and that country may be behind the opposition to the development of the southern port.
The Minister explained that there is a plan to construct an artificial canal that would connect the Gulf of Thailand with the Andaman Sea across southern Thailand with the funding from China which considers the canal as part of its 21st century maritime Silk Road.
The completion of the Thai Canal, also known as Kra Canal would facilitate the transportation in the region from South China Sea to Indian Ocean cutting the travel time considerably and when that happens the number of ships going through the said country would be reduced since the travel time would be reduced by at least five days by coming to Hambantota, the Minister explained.
Once this canal is built, the Hambanthota and Colombo Ports in Sri Lanka would be strengthened the most, the Minister said hinting that the opposition to developing the Hambanthota Port could be a conspiracy of the unidentified country.
However, the Minister assured that the government will not make any decision that would affect the country adversely.
Minister Rantunga said he has ordered the director board not to take any such measures and the government is trying to get maximum advantage for the country from the agreements.