The Presidential Secretariat says the ‘Colombo Lotus Tower’ will be open to the public after one week from today.
The tallest tower in the South Asian region, the Lotus Tower was officially declared open by President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday amidst festivities.
The Lotus Tower which was built on D.R Wijewardena Mawatah in Colombo was declared opened yesterday under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena. The postal department issued a commemorative stamp to the value of 45 rupees and a first day cover marking the opening of the lotus tower. The president also opened the website of the Lotus Tower.
Addressing the gathering President Maithripala Sirisena said, an instalment of 2,400 million rupees has to be paid annually for the loan obtained from the China Exim Bank for the construction of the Lotus Tower. The repayments spread across ten years. This Tower is being vested with the public, after saving a massive sum that was to be lost, due to a “controversial” agreement. For the construction of this Tower, a considerable loan was received, mainly from China. The previous administration signed a three party agreement in this regard. Under this agreement, 16 billion rupees was to be received from the China Exim Bank, as a loan. However, only 12 billion rupees was received. After 2017, the Chinese bank halted the remaining allocations. The reason for this was, when construction work commenced in 2012, the Sri Lankan Government had paid two billion rupees to a company by the name of ‘Alit’. However, in 2016, this company in question “disappeared”, and its where-a-bouts remained unknown. Thereby, it is unknown as to what happened to the two billion rupees in question.
An investigation was carried out in this regard. The Sri Lankan Ambassador to China was instructed to locate this controversial company; however it emerged that this company could not be located at the address given in Beijing. This is why the China Exim Bank halted the loan at 12 billion rupees, after which Sri Lanka had to fund the expenses. The President stated, another 3,000 million rupees is needed to cover the costs. The total estimated cost for this project was 19 billion rupees. It is the citizens’ money that was spent for this purpose. However, the President stated, this Tower can be considered as an “asset” to the country; thereby, its maintenance and security is important. For the future maintenance of the Tower, it will be converted into a state owned company. The President further stated, a Board of Directors will be appointed within the next two weeks, in this regard