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Mon, 30 March 2015 04:31:21
Sri Lanka gives nod for private consortium to firm-up light rail proposal
15 Mar, 2007 20:51:33
March 15 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has given a private consortium of Indian and Singaporean firms the green light to develop a firm proposal with financing in place, to build a light rail system for Colombo.
A letter of intent was awarded by Investment Promotion Minister Sarath Amunugama to the promoters, NEB Rapid Infrastructure to complete the financial feasibility and submit a proposal by June 2007.

The proposed light rail runs from Panadura to Colombo's Pettah area and then doubles back to terminate at Battaramulla in the administrative capital of Sri Jayewardenepura.

Amunugama says he wants to fast-track larger projects, eventually pushing the country's 500 million annual FDI flows to four billion US dollars.

"We have to push through several large projects to increase investment flows," Amunugama told journalists Thursday after opening a specialized unit at Sri Lanka's Board of Investment to handle 'Mega' projects.

"It is embarrassing to say this country can only attract 300 to 500 million dollars in FDI."

"The project will cost 800 million dollars," S Nagaraj of NEB Rapid told LBO.

"We think it is financially feasible."

Nagaraj has worked on the project for more than 18 months and has now brought an Indian firm SREI Infrastructure Finance to structure and advice on financing.

Singapore Land Transport Consortium, a grouping of transport infrastructure consultants and contractors hope to design and run the light rail system.

Sri Lanka's Urban Development Authority has called for proposals to develop an elevated mass rapid transport (MRT) earlier but most respondents had wanted government finance to take the project forward.

The new consortium would be given a 50-year concession to run MRT system on a build operate transfer (BOT) basis.

However the project has had false starts with a letter of intent earlier being awarded with Siemens and OPUS international of Malaysia as partners.
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