Sri lanka News – Sri Lanka’s Lotus Tower, which was opened for pubic viewing on Thursday, has limited visitors’ time of sightseeing the Colombo City to 20 minutes at the top observation deck in order to control the crowed, an official at the Tower said.
EconomyNext witnessed Chinese built tower staff inside the observation deck dispersing the crowd after 20 minutes following verbal queries from individual visitors on their arrival time.
Officials said a 500 rupee ticket will permit one-time viewing at the observation desk while a 2000 rupee ticket will enable multiple visits to the top with each visit limited to 20 minutes.
The Tower has not been fully opened and the main activities for now are the observation deck and a revolving restaurant, which will charge additional amount.
The revolving restaurant on the top of the tower is to be opened on a temporary basis as the authorities expect to go for a tender to maintain and ensure technical requirements of the roller based restaurant, an official said.
Further facilities are to be opened in the next 2 to 3 months, based on the tenders expected to be offered to shops and retailers.
The tower, said to the tallest in South Asia, triggered controversy when Indian government raised concerns over its purpose as China was behind the construction amid concerns over spying, Sri Lanka government officials have told EconomyNext.
The contract to build the $104.3 million tower – 80 percent of which was funded by Exim Bank of China – had been awarded in 2012 to China National Electronics Importers and Exporters Corporation (CEIEC) and Aerospace Long March International Trade Co. Ltd, (ALIT) by the Cabinet of ministers.
Former president Maithripalaa Sirisena after inaugurating the tower in 2019 alleged that ALIT had vanished, misappropriating some 2 billion rupees ($11 million) deposited with it by Sri Lanka’s state-run Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC).
Sirisena’s predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa, a pro-Chinese leader, however, defended the Chinese firm and said there was no misappropriation. (Colombo/Sept15/2022)