by Tang Lu and Jamila Najmuddin
Sanjeewa Alwis, an electrical and mechanical engineer with the China-funded Colombo Port City in Sri Lanka, is always excited about the project he gets involved in.
He has two daughters, Pekshi Advini and Methni Achinthi, who are equally excited about the project that their father is building in Colombo – a grand, ultra-modern business and entertainment center which is now rising from the ocean like a dream come true.
“How do you build it? Is it like building sand castles we love to build on the beach?” Advini and Methni would often ask their father.
To answer such questions from many Sri Lankan children, the Port City Colombo recently produced a picture book entitled “City Rising from the Ocean” to mark the 7th anniversary of the launch of the project.
The narration of the Port City story is by Sanjeewa who explains his work to his beloved daughters.
Twenty years back, Sanjeewa had studied electrical engineering and automation for six years at the prestigious Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. After graduation, he lived and worked in the Middle East for a long time.
A few years ago, when he learned that Sri Lanka and China were jointly building the Port City Colombo, he decided to return to his homeland and work on the spectacular project.
In 2016, Sanjeewa and his family moved back to Sri Lanka. Soon after, he joined the Port City team. “I was finally able to use the knowledge I learned in China to work in my hometown,” he said.
Launched in September 2014, the Port City Colombo is a cooperative project between Sri Lanka and China. It plans to reclaim 269 hectares of land from the Indian Ocean to build a brand-new central business district (CBD) integrating finance, tourism, logistics, and information technology in Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo.
Previously, many people in Sri Lanka did not have a full understanding of the significance of the project. “One of my responsibilities was to explain its significance to local officials so that the infrastructure in the Port City could be developed as quickly as possible,” said Sanjeewa.
In January 2019, the Port City project reached a milestone with the reclamation of 269 hectares from the ocean. “At that moment everyone in Port City was thrilled,” Sanjeewa said excitedly.
Believing that the Port City is an unprecedented project in Sri Lanka’s history, he said “What we are doing now will be a sample of Sri Lanka in the future.”
On the completion of the reclamation project, scenic places and facilities such as green parks, artificial beaches, yacht piers, golf courses will come up.
“With increasing publicity being given to the Port City in the local media, people in Sri Lanka are becoming more aware of the project and are looking forward to enjoying the benefits and facilities there,” Sanjeewa said.
He and his daughters are proud that they are appearing in the picture book, however, Sanjeewa regretted that neither of his daughters visited the Port City in person.
“The book will give information to children on how the Port City is being built and what it will look like in the future. It is a good way of passing knowledge to the younger generation,” Sanjeewa said.
Methni, a student of grade 11, said what she loves most in the book is the description of playing with the sand and building a sand castle on the beach.
“It could be the same as putting up buildings in the Port City. After reading this book, we will look forward to living and working in the Port City and enjoying the facilities there,” said the girl.
“Most of my classmates know my father works in the Port City and they ask about his work. We will share the book with our classmates so that they can get a good idea of how the city is being built,” added Advini, who is one year older than Methni.
At the online launch ceremony of the book earlier this month, Chairman of the National Library of Sri Lanka, Sonala Gunawardana, said that it is a story narrated through a children’s view in which the Port City is coming to life.
This is the most promising project for our country and the beneficiaries are none other than our children and future generations, Gunawardana added.
“Rising from the Ocean is a real story that our children can truly experience,” said Dinesh Kulathunga, President of the Sri Lanka Board on Books for Young People.
COLOMBO, Sept. 28 (Xinhua)
Maldivian Airways have discussed the opportunity for a joint venture with both Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways.
UAE Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways have both shown interest in investing in Maldives National Airlines, Maldivian.
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih publicized within last August that discussions have been proceeded to find an investor for Maldivian Airways from the Middle East area. Ethical and Qatar Airways have currently shown interest in being investors. However, apart from having shown interest in being an investor, no further discussions have been made towards any investment plans.
The resorts publicized by finance show that Island Aviation run by Maldivian Airways has faced a loss of 25.3 million Maldivian Rufiyaa in the first quarter of this year. As businesses have recovered and workload has been increased following the covid lockdowns, Maldivian pilots have expressed discontent with declining salaries. In regards to this, it has been decided to increase the pilots’ salaries to 80% for the rest of the year.
Economic Minister Fayaaz Ismail and Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer have met with businessmen and government officials in Qatar. Some media have reported that the Ministers have had meetings with Qatar Airways Officials as well regarding investing in Maldivian Airways.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) have advised the government to stop printing more money and decrease the debt.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) has advised the Maldives to stop taking more money from the central bank of Maldives, and lower the debt that the country has.
During the Covid-19 pandemic and the country’s economic drop, the government had suspended some of the laws regarding printing more money and printed new money by sending a bill to the parliament and getting it approved. IMF informed that to maintain the USD rate in the Maldives at 15.42, Maldives must stop printing more money. IMF further informed that if the Maldives continues to print money, we may face an economic crisis like so in Sri Lanka.
IMF has called the Maldives to think for the big picture and plan in a 360 view of how things can be, and make strategic decisions.
IMF has estimated that while working on the economic state of the country, the inflation rate may increase by 1.4% in the Maldives. And foods and beverages price may have an increased inflation rate of 2.3% in 2022. World Bank, MMA, and Finance ministry of Maldives have estimated that the country will go back to the normal economical state by 2023.
STELCO is planning to manufacture electric vehicles.
STELCO has decided to build electric vehicles which are going to be a first in the Maldives.
In the opening ceremony for the STELCO ‘Stevo’ workshop, the company Managing Director Hassan Mugunee has stated that the engineers working at the company are among the most established and experienced engineers in the Maldives. On this note, Hassan Mugunee has said the company will build electric cars as a Maldivian production.
Mugunee has said that the highest number of chemicals and gases which harm the environment are released by vehicles, and as such he wants to build environmentally friendly alternatives and market them in the Maldives.
The project to build electric cars was started considering the fact that the Maldives is a country that runs multiple environment-friendly projects and to introduce environmentally friendly vehicles which are safe for the roads in the Maldives.
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