Sri Lankans join hands with the Indian farmers against Adani Group. While Modi government trying to hand over the agriculture sector to Adani, Sri Lankan Government is attempting to lease the Eastern Container Terminal (ECT) of Colombo port to Adani Group of India. 23 Trade Unions attached to the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) joined together to carry out a struggle against this attempt of Rajapakshe government. Their demand is to handover the operations of ECT only to SLPA. Harbour Trade Unions launched several struggles including strikes to defeat the attempt of Government since last year. Trade Union leaders state that the SLPA is financially strong enough to carry out the operations of ECT.
Contrary to the demands and aspirations of the working people of the harbour, by handing over 49% shares of ECT to Adani Group the government of Sri Lanka is trying to find quick dollars through FDIs. From the other side, India is exploring ways to counter Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean by gaining access to control a port in Sri Lanka. At the moment, India, US, Australia and Japan have formed “QUAD” to counter Chinese activities in the Indian Ocean. Since Sri Lanka is located in a geographically crucial location in the region, having a port operation in the country by India will be a very important component of the QUAD strategy. For the moment China is handling Hambanthota harbour and one terminal of the Colombo port.
“Wame Handa”, a left newspaper and Marx school organized a Zoom rally on January 09 to protest the attempt to lease the East Terminal to the Adani Group. All trade unions in the Colombo harbour have called for a joint meeting on January 11th where a joint organization will be formed with working people, politicians, clergy, intellectuals to protect ECT. Meanwhile, the Government has declared operations of the harbour as essential service.