By Duncan Mackay

Ajith Nivard_Cabraal_giving_speech_in_front_of_Hambantota_2018_modelOctober 16 - Indian firms could be among the biggest winners if Hambantota wins its bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games, it has been claimed.

Prasad Kariyawasam, Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to India, claimed that companies there will be ideally placed to take advantage of the massive building programme that will be required if Hambantota beat the Gold Coast when the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) votes for the host city at its General Assembly in St Kitts and Nevis on November 11.

More than $5 billion (£3.2 billion/€3.6 billion) worth of investment is needed it is estimated. 

"In case we win the bid we will require massive investment to put up facilities as we are trying to build from scratch," said Kariyawasam.

"If we win the bid, then there will be a lot of opportunity in the construction sector for all, and naturally India being the closest neighbour with the capacity will be very competitive in terms of getting contracts because they might be able to deliver at cost effective prices."

Kariyawasam also claimed that the close cultural ties between Sri Lanka and India will also work in their favour.

"Indians will also have an understanding of how to handle the manpower even if they do not want to bring in their own manpower," he said.

India is already among the four biggest investors in Sri Lanka, pumping $400 million (£253 million/€288 million) into its economy each year. 

The major investors include Tata, CEAT, Ultratech Cements, the Indian Oil Corporation, Airtel and Ashok Leyland.

Hambantota, which was hit hard by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, it is already undergoing a number of major development projects, including the construction of a new sea port.

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