The Colombo Port City Project is one of the most controversial infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka . The original proposal to create a Colombo Port City was made in 2004. It involved small-scale sea reclamation subjected to a thorough and comprehensive study. In 2010, there was an initial report which was not considered comprehensive enough, and the project has changed several times during the following years .
"Initiated by the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa with a vision to rejuvenate Sri Lanka’s stagnant economy, the project is worth about $1.4 billion. The Chinese President Xi Jinping and former Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa officially launched the port project in September 2014. Soon after Maithripala Sirisena became President in January 2015, however, he suspended the contract in March 2015, citing various shortcomings, irregularities and ecological issues. But this suspension was temporary in nature, and the project was revived in March 2016. The project has, nonetheless, raised questions on the Sirisena government’s probity, which came to power questioning the huge investment by the Chinese in Sri Lanka, which he argued would lead to an avoidable dependence on China" .
"The Colombo deal was first signed in November 2013 between the Rajapaksa Administration and the Chinese state-owned firm, China Communications Construction Company Pvt. Ltd. (CCCC)" .
The most debated controversial issues are ecological adverse impacts, negative impacts on fisher people, land ownership, and controversies about compensation .
Regarding environmental impacts, Patrick claims that "the Rajapaksa administration did not undertake any comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the project prior to its approval. Activists have been highlighting the serious environmental implications of the project, especially with regard to massive granite extraction and land reclamation.
The demand for granite on the construction site has resulted in large-scale exploitation by mine owners. This has led to falling ground-water levels in the area, posing serious water shortages for the island nation. On a larger scale, reclamation and extraction are destabilizing the ecology of the region, leading to increasing natural disasters in sensitive areas.
However, the Sirisena administration has not yet addressed these environmental issues and has chosen to continue with the project" .
With regards to the impacts on fisher people, in 2007, the Rajapaksa administration promised a compensation of 1,000,000 Sri Lankan rupees ($ 6,294) to each fisher affected by the project, but later failed to fulfill its commitment. The project has led to large-scale displacement of the fisher community. The large amount of sand dredged in the reclamation process is becoming a major concern for fisher people using traditional methods of fishing, usually undertaken in shallower waters. After the revival, the project company has promised to allocate 500 million Sri Lankan rupees ($314,703,90) to the fishers' income support programme through the government of Sri Lanka .
The People's Movement against Port City has been organizing a range of protests in the last years. In 2016, hundreds of religious representatives, fisher people, activists and citizens have taken to the streets of Colombo to protest against the reopening of the construction project of the Port City funded by China . They claimed that the project will kill the fishermen, and expressed their concerns that the project will bring "incalculable" damage and irreversibly destroy " the whole area’s marine and biological respources" .
On 6th of January 2016, the People's Movement against Port City held a public hearing over the EIA report at the Centre for Society and Religion (CSR) in Colombo with the participation of more than 300 people. At the end of the public hearing, they marched to the Department for the conservation of the coast and the Coastal Resource Management (Cccrmd) and presented an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of 400 pages, containing 128 negative opinions about the construction .
The protesters claim that from the beginning the project sparked the opposition of the local community, which first succeeded in securing its suspension.
They argue that the life of 15 thousand fisher people is endangered and that the drinking water, the seabed and coral reefs will be damaged. 
In December 2017 as well, the Sri Lankan Catholic Church has brought a range of social groups together in order to protest against the Colombo Financial City Project.
Religious leaders including Buddhist monks, Catholic priests, nuns and civic activists revealed that they believe that the rebranding of the project does not address the fact that it is illegal, undemocratic and environmentally reckless, and the People's Movement Against Port City asks the government for the abolishment of the project. They believe that the impact on the society and especially local fisher comunities will be much migger than reported, and the impacts on rock and sand mining are not well studied in the EIA. One of the representatives o f the movement, Father Iddamalgoda added that the government is interested in neo-liberal economic policies and not in the livelihoods of poor fishermen living from Hendala to Negombo. In fact, it is feared that this construction will displace about 50,000 families. 
However, wide protests highlighting issues faced by fisherfolk, as well as the adverse impact on fish breeding areas, damage to coral reefs and coastal erosion, halted the project.
After civic rights activists launched a massive protest in Colombo against the restarting of the project in April 2016, the environmental assessment report was redone but protesters question the impartiality of the report.  In August 2017 as well, women from the fishing communities across Sri Lanka’s western coastline gathered thousands of protesters against the Colombo Port City that is attacking their livelihoods.. The protesters led by the women have visited community service organisations, civil society and trade unions aimed at uniting them together. The campaign would also address victims troubled by similar development projects like Uma Oya to awaken them to the impending grave disaster.