Cabinet approves decision to terminate Japan- funded light rail transit project

September, 29, 2020

The Cabinet of Ministers has approved the decision to terminate the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)-funded light rail transit (LRT) project which was planned to be implemented in the western region of Sri Lanka as a solution for the severe traffic congestion.

Recently, the Cabinet granted the approval to implement the Colombo Light Rail Transit System project in the western region of Sri Lanka under the funds provided by the Japan International Cooperation Agency. However, it has been observed that the project is unable to achieve the desired results, the state information office said.

Accordingly, taking into account the following submissions made by the Transport Minister as the minister in charge of the project, the Cabinet of Ministers has decided to terminate the LRT project stretching from Colombo to Malabe.

    According to the basic plan of the project, it was proposed to build a light rail system with facilities to travel along the overland railway tracks as an alternative mode of transport for people who enter the city of Colombo for employment and other needs, using their personal vehicles.

    • However, the previous government had altered the initial plans and took measures to implement the proposed light rail transit system on a railway line built on towers which could cause severe environmental damage.

    • If the project is implemented, a large number of properties including houses, workplaces will have to be demolished and the cost of constructing the railway track on towers will be immense.

    • In addition, the trains which were to be put in place to operate under the proposed Light Rail Transit system as an alternative mode of transport are unable to provide the required facilities.

    • Further, it has been observed that if the Light Rail Transit project has been implemented, it will incur a heavy operating cost.