Sri Lanka opens Chinese-built Lotus Tower for public viewing

Colombo: Often described as a Chinese-built “white elephant”, Sri Lanka’s 350-metre Lotus Tower, constructed at a cost of USD 113 million, was on Thursday opened for visitors in central Colombo.

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The huge green and purple communications tower is one of several white elephant projects built with Chinese loans under Mahinda Rajapaksa, brother of ousted president Gotabaya Rajapaksa who had to flee in July following months-long protests over Sri Lanka’s dire economic crisis.

The tower, dubbed as South Asia’s tallest structure, was built at a cost of USD 113 million and 80 percent of the funding had come from the Chinese Exim Bank.

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Its construction began in 2012 and had been plagued by corruption claims since then.

The tower is now open for the public and visitors are allowed into the observation deck and a revolving restaurant, Prasad Samarasinghe, the CEO of the state-owned management company said.

A 200 rupee ticket would allow 20 minutes of sight seeing on the observation deck on the 29th floor. Most of the functions and activities on the tower are not yet fully functional.

It will take at least three more months for the tower to become fully functional,” Samarasinghe said.

The revolving restaurant on the 27th floor operates on roller based technology with diners allowed to have a 360 degree view of the Colombo city.

The tower premises is to be rented out to potential business partners for trade and services.

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