June 29, Colombo: The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which is funding the proposed Light Rail Transit (LRT) system in Sri Lankan capital city has handed over the report of a feasibility study conducted by the agency to the Minister of Megapolis and Western Development.
Chief Representative of JICA in Sri Lanka Fusato Tanaka handed over the report on the feasibility study of the project to build a light rail track from Malabe to Pettah to Minister Megapolis and Western Development Patali Champika Ranawaka today.
The total cost of the project is US$ 1.7 billion and it will be provided by JICA at a concessionary interest rate of 0.1%.
The land acquisition process is now in progress for the implementation of the project and the work on the detailed plans will be finished in 2019. The construction work is slated to begin in 2020. The project will be completed and vested with the public in 2024.
Concurrent to the handing over of the feasibility study report of the project, the official Website of the Light Railway Project (www.clr.lk) was also launched by Minister Ranawaka and JICA Chief in Sri Lanka Fusato Tanaka today. The public could get information on the light rail system from the website.
Speaking at the occasion, Minister Ranawaka said for a project to be successful, a proper feasibility study, formal environmental, social and financial studies are necessary.
He recalled that in the past, many of the projects were completed without any formal financial analysis, which translated into debt later.
"We have found from this feasibility study that this project will not be a burden to the country, but it will uplift the country. This is a new experience for us," he said.
The Minister expressed his appreciation to the government of Japan, as a friendly country for supporting Sri Lanka's development in the past few decades with huge donations amounting to US$ 1.7 billion.
Minister Ranawaka said in parallel to the Pettah-Malabe system feasibility studies on three other tracks are progressing and those projects will be implemented as private public partnerships by the beginning of next year.