SL president orders for immediate suspension of LRT project

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Colombo, (Samajweekly) Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has ordered for the termination of a Light Railway Transit (LRT) project which was to be constructed in capital Colombo, the local EconomyNext reported here.

According to government officials, the LRT project was a Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) funded project and the President had ordered for its immediate suspension as it was not an effective transport solution, Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday.

EconomyNext quoting a letter written to the Transport Ministry Secretary, Secretary to the President P.B. Jayasundara said the project was very costly and not the appropriate cost effective transport solution for the urban Colombo transportation infrastructure.

The project was likely to cost an estimated US $1.5 billion.

“A suitable transport solution could be worked out in consultation with the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing and the Department of National Planning of the Ministry of Finance,” Jayasundara wrote, adding that the President had also ordered the immediate closure of the project office.

Sri Lanka signed a 30 billion yen (284.57 million U.S. dollars) concessionary loan with the government of Japan in March 2020 for the projects. The government also expressed concern about buildings that might be affected by the LRT.

The LRT project was expected to cover a distance of 17 km. Sixteen LRT stations were to be constructed along the route.