Won't give ECT to anyone - MR ; Can't accept responsibility - Ranil

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has said that the government will not sell or lease the Eastern Container Terminal (ECT) of the Colombo Port and no such discussion has even taken place.

He was responding to journalists today (31) at the Carlton House.

“We are not selling or leasing this to anyone. It is under our control. The opposition has nothing to accuse on this matter. I want to make it clear that there is not even a discussion with any party on this matter. I think the trade unions also know this. So there is no need for any strikes. If they had come to me, I would have explained the truth to them," he had said.

“The majority of the cabinet is of the view that the ECT should not be sold. Even the President is of the same view. It is not our policy to sell national assets. It’s the policy of the UNP. People have not given us a mandate to continue the policy of the previous government,“ he had added.

'Attempt to handover West Terminal'
Meanwhile, speaking to media today, Ven. Omalpe Sobhitha Thera charged that attempts are underway to handover the West Terminal of the Colombo Port to an Indian company amidst opposition over attempts to hand over the East Terminal.

Speaking during a media briefing in Embilipitiya, the Thera said that safeguarding national resources is everyone’s responsibility and that no terminal of the Colombo Port or other sections in the country must be handed over to a foreign entity.

The Thera added that national resources must be protected for future generations and the country’s prosperity.

Can't accept responsibility - Ranil
Meanwhile, speaking at a seperate media briefing today, UNP leader - Ranil Wickremesinghe said that it was mulled during the days of the 'Good Governance' government to handover operations of the ECT to a company merged with an Indian company, while retaining the ownership to the Sri Lankan government.

However, if the present government had escalated this situation towards a crisis, the 'Good Governance' government cannot take responsibility for it, it added.