Former Minister Ranawaka writes to Japanese PM on canceled rail project

Patali-Champika-Ranawaka

Hon. Patali Champika Ranawaka Minister of Megapolis and Western Region Development

Oct 19, 2020 (LBO) – In a letter former Megapolis Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka has extended his regret and apologies to the Japanese Government and people for any inconvenience caused due to the cancellation of the LRT project.

“ I wish to extend this sincere apology to the Government and people of Japan on behalf of the people of Sri Lanka for any inconvenience caused by the decision taken by the present Government to discontinue this collaborative project,” he said.

“The Japan-funded vital LRT project was well on course to become a high-impact, strategically prudent and financially sound intervention in the ever congested Sri Lanka’s national transport system.”

The letter to the Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga was dated 12th October.

The project was progressing well, the Minister wrote and on course to realising its primary goal of commencing the transfer of 30,000 passengers per hour per direction between Malabe and Fort by 2024, thereby bringing about a phenomenal reduction in traffic congestion in the city, yet this is the project that the current Government of Sri Lanka has decided to abruptly discontinue for reasons perhaps best known to them.

“Japan remained Sri Lanka’s largest development partner for a long time, stood by Sri Lanka’s interests at important international fora and is not known to have traded its development assistance with unhealthy and unfriendly economic or political pressures. The peoples of the two nations have always held each other in the highest spirit of mutual friendship and respect.”

JICA granted the funding for the project at a highly concessionary interest rate of 0.1% per annum (and the consultancy component at 0.01%) with a 14-year grace period and a 40-year payback period.