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. However the project has had false starts with a letter of intent earlier being awarded with Siemens and OPUS international of Malaysia as partners. 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 8