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Friday, 09 December 2016 - 19:10
Hambanthota port strike continues; Minister in charge, says he did not make the decision to sell the port.
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Ports and Shipping Minister Arjuna Ranatunga says that the final decision to transfer Hambantota Port to a Chinese company was not taken by him.

Addressing a media conference held in his ministry today, minister Ranatunga said the relevant Cabinet paper was presented by ministers Malik Samarawickrama and Sarath Amunugama.

However, an initial framework agreement to re-develop Hambantota Port under Public Private Partnership program has been signed between the Sri Lankan government and Chinese government affiliated China Merchant Ports Holding Company yesterday.

The International Trade and development Strategies ministry stated in a communiqué that a sponsorship agreement will be signed after the Chinese company completed an assessment process.

Subsequently, terms and conditions of the final agreement will be discussed following the signing of a framework memorandum of understanding.

The government decided last week to sign this agreement with the China Merchant Ports Holding company.

Accordingly, 80% of the ownership of Hambantota port will be transferred to the Chinese investor.

Thereafter, the investor will invest 1.12 billion dollars to revive the Maagampura port.

5 million US Dollars has to be paid soon after the singing of the framework agreement of the memorandum of understanding. This will remain as a security fund.   

Meanwhile, the Sathyagraha launched by workers attached to the Maagampura Management Private Limited is still continuing.

They are demanding authorities to absorb them to the Sri Lanka Ports Authority.

A group of strikers has climbed to the roof top of a 14 storied building at the ports premises. 

483 workers of the company launched the strike on Wednesday

In the meantime, Ports and Shipping Minister Arjuna Ranatunga also met with the strikers yesterday to discuss the issue.

Meanwhile, JVP politbureau member K.D. Lal Kantha who met the strikers today said that National Trade Union Federation will support them until they win their rights.

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