Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has inaugurated the new Colombo Lotus Tower, which is claimed to be the tallest tower in South Asia.

Construction on the 356m-tall tower started at 2012 and the structure marks a ‘landmark evolution’ in Sri Lanka’s telecommunication industry, according to the president.

The tower features a revolving restaurant, shopping complex and an observation deck that gives a view of Colombo, reported the Xinhua News Agency.

The new tower has a base circumference of 45m and a transmission tower with an antenna coverage length of nearly 90m.

Distance coverage provided by the digital antenna is 60km towards the north and south, as well as 50km east and 15km west.

It is capable of delivering transmission for 20 television stations and 50 FM channels.

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More than 70 Sri Lankan experts and engineers were involved in the construction of the tower. Key consultancy services were delivered by the University of Moratuwa.

President Sirisena said: “We must protect this as a national treasure while understanding the challenges before the country.”

Built with an estimated cost of LKR19bn ($104.52m), the structure received a loan from the EXIM Bank of China. The design of the tower was finalised in 2008.

According to Sirisena, a state-owned company will be responsible for managinh the tower and its security.

The Sri Lankan president also opened the Lotus Tower website.