COLOMBO, March 24 (Xinhua)-- Ahead of Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena's first visit to China a local organisation called for China's largest investment project to resume, an official said on Tuesday.
The Sri Lanka-China Social Cultural Cooperation Association told reporters the 1.4 billion U.S dollar port city project should not have been suspended. They also called on the government to engage more productively with Chinese stakeholders in Sri Lanka.
"We must be mindful of the fact that this suspension could hurt the investment and diplomatic relations between the two countries. We urge President Sirisena to resolve any concerns over this project during his visit," association president I. Abeysekera said.
The project, which is the largest foreign investment deal in Sri Lanka, was suspended by the new government that was elected in January over environmental concerns, which the Chinese company has denied.
The local government is also concerned over the Chinese company owning about 100 hectares of the 233 hectares to be reclaimed from the sea for the project.
Following the suspension China Communications Construction Company Limited has submitted relevant environmental documents to a committee appointed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The daily loss for the suspension has been estimated at 380,000 U.S dollars by the company.
President Sirisena who will be in China on Thursday is expected to hold talks with top Chinese government officials on a range of topics including the port city project.
Since the end of a three decade conflict in 2009 China became the country's largest loan provider with an estimated 5 billion U. S dollars mostly for massive infastructure development.