Former Minister Champika Ranawaka has expressed regret to Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga over the cancellation of the Japan-funded Light Rail Transit (LRT) project.
As the then Minister who initiated and spearheaded the commencement of the project, Ranawaka said the project was well on course to become a high-impact, strategically prudent and financially sound intervention in the ever congesting national transport system of Sri Lanka.
Ranawaka extended his sincere apologies to the government and people of Japan on behalf of the people of Sri Lanka for any inconvenience caused by the decision taken by the present Government of Sri Lanka to discontinue with the project.
“The project was progressing well on course to realizing its primary goal of commencing the transfer of 30,000 passengers per hour, per direction, between Malabe and Fort by 2024, thereby bringing about a phenomenal reduction in traffic congestion in the city. And this is the project that the current government of Sri Lanka has decided to abruptly discontinue for reasons perhaps best known to them,” Ranawaka said in a letter to the Japanese Prime Minister.
Ranawaka said that Japan has always been a true friend of Sri Lanka throughout the past 70 years.
He said that Japan remained Sri Lanka’s largest development partner for a long time, stood by Sri Lanka’s interests at important international fora, and is not known to have traded its development assistance with unhealthy and unfriendly economic or political pressures.
The former Minister said that he hopes the mutual friendship and cooperation between the two countries, and the two peoples, will remain close and cordial as ever despite this incident. (Colombo Gazette)