Its necessity as a communication centre was always in question. The details of financing, awarding of contract and construction- have all been shrouded in a veil of obfuscation.
Now, on the cusp of inauguration, it stands towering over the Colombo skyline as another reminder of financial imprudency by the erstwhile regime of Mahinda Rajapaksa. Not lost on the country is the ex-president’s pandering to his Chinese masters, with the country now paying the price in more ways than one.
The tower’s utility as a communication facility has been questioned. Broadcasters say the structure can’t cover the island nor improve current transmissions from a mountain in the centre of Sri Lanka.
The state-owned Colombo Lotus Tower Management Company said they had decided to open its observation deck to visitors from Thursday and earn ticket sales to minimise losses.
Sri Lanka is going through its worst economic crisis in modern history, and huge money owed to China is partly blamed for the situation.
Inauguration of the tower could not have come at a worse time for Sri Lanka- and the Rajapaksas, seen as close to China.
The tower, financed with Chinese debt is seen as a “vanity project” more than anything else. It has become a symbol of the Rajapaksa clan’s closeness to Beijing and is likely add to their growing unpopularity.
It will likely add to Sri Lanka’s growing lst of “white elephant” projects financed with Chinese debt- like the Hambantota port or the Mattala Rajapaksa airport.