Sept 27, 2016 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is pushing ahead with ambitious Megapolis development plans keeping in mind the need to strengthen public sector capacity, a senior government official said.
The Western region Megapolis is being designed around clusters in financial services, industry and manufacturing, airport related activity, technology, logistics, forestry and tourism, said Sumedha Ratnayake, director general of the Urban Development Authority.
He was speaking at the LBR LBO Infrastructure Summit 2016 themed “Realizing The Transformative Power of The Western Region Development: Opportunities and Challenges.”
The summit brought together 45 top notch speakers from academia and the public and private sectors who spoke in front of a packed audience at the Cinnamon Grand.
Ratnayake said there was a continuous need for advanced expertise in technical designs, planning and budget allocation, monitoring and evaluation, operations and maintenance of projects and aid and donor management.
“Various stakeholders with different interests come in at the implementation stage, so we have to very very carefully select investors and allocate resources,” he said.
“If we don’t maintain credibility and accountability in our institutions, we will lose confidence of investors and stakeholders.”
Nevertheless, several projects are now moving forward, and the conceptual designs for nine townships are complete, he said.
Foreign funding for 35 kilometers of Light Rail Transit (LRT) is committed, and requests for proposals will be called for the balance 40 kilometres soon.
The government said the Japanese government will fund the proposed LRT system. The initial investment is to cover around 25km, connecting Fort, Kollupitiya, Bambalapitiya, Borella, Maradana, Rajagiriya, Battaramulla and Malambe.
“Tomorrow we are launching Techno City. Four state universities are laying foundation stones for their technological faculties.”
“Korean firm LH is making plans for Science and Technology City and Aero city. They are coming in with their conceptual plan and with our concurrence we will go for the master plan and business model.”
Siemens has also signed an MoU for technical support for the smart city project, he said, while the Road Development Authority RDA has started on connectivity of Kelani Bridge to Port City and Rajagiriya roads.
Among other projects, selection of investors for one solid waste disposal project is completed, and the other is in the final stage, Ratnayake said.
“So even though it is slow at the start, we are on the right track and the success path.”