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COLOMBO: Sri Lankan President Maithripala Siri­sena has said that he would not, ‘under any circumstances’, allow a contract to be given to a foreign company for completion of the Colombo port’s east terminal.

He met the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) worker union on Tuesday and told them that he had put a clause in the agreement that terms could be changed by mutual consent at any time.

The comment by the president is in contrast to one made by the Sirisena-Wickrem­esinghe government that it was keen on giving the contract to a South Asian company to balance the clout given to China in the Hambantota port.

Sources confirmed that among the companies bidding for the project to complete the terminal on a build-operate and-transfer basis, were two Indian firms, Shapoorji Pestonj and Container Corporation of India, and a Bangladeshi firm, Summit Shipping.

India was keen on getting the Colombo terminal contract as it had opted out of the Hambantota port contract when it was offered to it by then president Mahinda Rajapa.

Published in Dawn, August 2nd, 2017