By Maheesha Mudugamuwa
The Joint Trade Union Collective to protect the East Container Terminal (ECT) yesterday (15) urged the Government to fulfill the promise they made during the election that the terminal would not be handed over to India and that it will be taken under the control of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA).
Speaking to The Morning, All Ceylon General Port Employee Union (ACGPEU) Secretary Chandrasiri Mahagamage said that at a meeting held with the Joint Trade Union Collective yesterday (15), they have decided to remind the President and the Minister of Ports and Shipping about the promises they made and also to urge them to take immediate action to develop the ECT and start the operations.
The trade unions (TUs) raised concerns over the delay in completing the terminal planning which should have been done by the authority for the commencement of commercial operations of the ECT several months ago, prior to the general election.
The operation planning of the terminal should be completed so as to begin the commercial operations of the terminal, which has recently come to light due to the loading of gantry cranes ordered for the JCT which is still under construction.
Accordingly, the delay in launching operations of the ECT has caused the Government a loss of around Rs. 50 billion per year.
The TUs attached to the SLPA recently held an industrial action demanding the Prime Minister or the President to give an assurance that the ECT will not be handed over to India. However, the verbal assurance given by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said that any attempt to legalise the Memorandum of Corporation (MoC) signed between India, Sri Lanka, and Japan would not be allowed.