Move to scrap Light Rail Transit project gets cabinet nod

The cabinet has approved a decision to terminate the Light Rail Transit (LRT) System project.

Cabinet spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters today the Government has decided to look at an alternative option to the LRT project.

Rambukwella said that the cabinet had extensive discussions on the project and agreed that it was not the best option.

He said that the cost of the project and damage to the environment were considered when deciding to scrap the project.

Secretary to the Ministry of Transport Monti Ranatunga had told the Colombo Gazette last week 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 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.

The project was initiated by the former Government with Japanese funding to ease traffic congestion.

The LRT was to be operated from Colombo-Fort to Malabe and Athurugiriya, via Sri Jayewardenepura. (Colombo Gazette)