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After JICA, Govt. removes ADB

2 years ago

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  • Dumped from Kelani Valley railway project
  • Was involved from 2016
By Maheesha Mudugamuwa Following the controversial removal of the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) from the Colombo Light Rail Transit Project (LRT), the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) has now removed Asian Development Bank (ADB) from the Kelani Valley Railway Improvement Programme, The Sunday Morning learnt. This is according to a letter sent by ADB to Institution of Engineers Sri Lanka (IESL) President Eng. (Prof.) Sarath Abayakoon dated 20 September 2020, which was seen by The Sunday Morning. The letter, signed by ADB Director – South Asia Regional Department Ravi Peri, reveals that ADB has been removed from the Kelani Valley project. “We write in reference to the letter dated 9 September 2020 on the review of the Kelani Valley (KV) Line feasibility study and remaining sections of the Colombo Suburban Railway Project (CSRP). The Kelani Valley Railway Improvement Programme was earlier listed in ADB’s Country Operations Business Plan (COBP). However, ADB was advised by the Department of External Resources, Ministry of Finance, that the ADB loan for the KV Line has been removed from the COBP for Sri Lanka. As such, there is now no railway project in ADB’s operation planning for Sri Lanka. We therefore suggest that IESL may engage with government on this matter and any implications for the Main Line, Coastal Line, and Puttalam Line under the CSRP, as well as the Kandy Suburban Railway Project,” it stated. For the KV Line project, the prefeasibility consultants had been mobilised in 2016 after signing agreements for an ADB grant of $ 1 million. The consultation was completed and the draft final report was issued in November 2017, while the stakeholder workshop was also held in November 2017. At present, the following reports have already been submitted: final report of the pre-feasibility consultancy, KV Line alternative study, train control centre evaluation, long-distance railway service evaluation, and ticketing system evaluation. The detailed design consultation for the development initiatives identified by the pre-feasibility study was initiated in February 2017. The procurement was completed and the detailed design consultants were mobilised in 2018. This was initiated through an ADB loan of $ 10 million. The scope of the consultancy was to carry out a feasibility study and detailed designs for the KV Line, the Main Line, the Coastal Line, and the Puttalam Line. The procurement for consultancy commenced in October 2017 and the expression of interest (EOI) had been called. Twenty-one consultancy firms submitted their interest; the evaluation has now been completed and six shortlisted organisations will be issued with “request for proposal” documents. As learnt by The Sunday Morning, since the ADB has been removed from the project, there was no official funding partner for the project as of now and the project is at a standstill at present. Nevertheless, when contacted by The Sunday Morning, Transport Minister Gamini Lokuge noted that the KV Line would be upgraded soon with a doubleline system. However, he did not speak about the availability of funding.

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