By Vyshnavy Velrajh
The cabinet will take the final decision on the termination of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) System project.
Secretary to the Ministry of Transport Monti Ranatunga told the Colombo Gazette that President’s Secretary P.B. Jayasundera, on the advise of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, had instructed the Ministry of Transport Services Management to review and terminate the project and close the project office with immediate effect.
In a letter addressed to Ranatunga on Monday (21), President’s Secretary P.B. Jayasundera cited the high cost incurred for the LRT project and it not being the appropriate cost effective transport solution for the Urban Colombo transportation infrastructure, for its termination.
Monti Ranatunga said as Sri Lanka was facing difficulties in repaying existing loans due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Transport Services Management was advised to review several projects launched under loans, and has decided to terminate or postpone many projects.
The Ministry is considering the termination of the LRT project, while alternative solutions to the terminated or postponed projects will be considered in due course.
The LRT project was initially launched under the Urban Development Authority, but under the new Government it falls under the Ministry of Transport Services Management, he elaborated.
Monti Ranatunga further said the final decision on the termination of the Colombo LRT project will be taken by the cabinet.
The Light Rail Transit System project, which was to be funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), was suspended by the Government in June 2020 citing costs.
The project was initiated by the former Government with a plan to ease traffic congestion through the LRT which was to be operated from Colombo- Fort to Malabe and Athurugiriya, via Sri Jayewardenepura. (Colombo Gazette)