On July 3, a launching ceremony was held by the Ministry of Megapolis & Western Development of Sri Lanka for a project to be implemented with Japanese yen loans. Many officials, including Prime Minister, Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe, Minister of Megapolis & Western Development, Hon. Patali Champika Ranawaka and Ambassador of Japan, H.E. Akira Sugiyama attended the ceremony.
The Government of Japan extends a Yen Loan package up to the amount of Japanese Yen 30,040 million (approximately Rs. 48 billion) to the Government of Sri Lanka for establishment of Light Rail Transit System in Colombo. The purpose of this project is to mitigate heavy traffic congestion and advance the transport network in Colombo.
The proposed Light Rail Transit System has been designed to enhance the connectivity between the administrative commercial hub of Colombo and the densely populated residential areas in the suburbs of Colombo. The planned LRT System is approximately 15.7 km in length with 16 stations from Colombo Fort to Malabe via Battaramulla and will reduce the traveling time from Colombo Fort to Malabe to approximately 30 minutes. This Yen loan is offered on highly concessional terms and conditions (40-year repayment period with the grace period of 12 years and 0.1% interest rate per annum) and administered by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Japan hopes that this project will contribute a great deal to the social and economic development in Sri Lanka, especially in Colombo, by providing a safe, reliable and comfortable commuting system.