Leasing out H’ tota Port: Ranil and Tissa lock horns
By Gagani Weerakoon and Methmalie Dissanayake
A heated argument erupted between UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and SJB MP Tissa Attanayake over the Hambantota Port, yesterday (2) in Parliament.
Participating in the Committee Stage Debate on Expenditure Heads of the Ports and Shipping Ministry, Attanayake said the Hambantota Port was sold.
Wickremesinghe, who intervened, said the port was not sold, but was given on lease for only 70 years.
Attanayake: “I do not want to argue with Wickremesinghe. He was my former leader. But when an asset is leased for more than 33 years, it is considered sold. Can you tell me if we have ever taken back an asset which was leased decades back?”
Wickremesinghe: “If we want to take back the port, we can do it even tomorrow. According to the agreement, we will have to pay a fine. That is what is mentioned in the agreement.”
Ports Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardena: “What the former PM said about the lease period of Hambantota Port is incorrect. It has been leased for 99 years, not for 70 years. I will send a copy of the agreement to the former PM.”