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Cabinet approves LRT project to scrap

The Cabinet of Ministers has given its approval to terminate the Japan-funded Light Rail Transit (LRT) project, which was planned to be implemented in the western region of Sri Lanka as a solution for the severe traffic congestion.

The approval of the Cabinet was previously granted to launch the project under the funds provided by the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA).

However, the observations made by the Minister of Transport have revealed that the project is unable to achieve the desired results.

Taking into account the following submissions made by the Minister of Transport as the minister in charge of the project, the Cabinet of Ministers has decided to terminate the LRT project stretching from Colombo to Malabe due to the following.

The basic plan of the project had proposed to build a LRT system with facilities to travel along the overland railway tracks as an alternative mode of transport for people who enter the city of Colombo for employment and other needs, using their personal vehicles.

However, the former Government had altered the initial plans and took measures to implement the proposed LRT system on a railway line built on towers which could cause severe environmental damage.

If the project is implemented, a large number of properties including houses and workplaces will have to be demolished, and the cost for constructing the towers for the LRT system will be sky-high.

In addition, the trains which were to be put in place to operate under the proposed LRT system as an alternative mode of transport are unable to provide the required facilities.

Further, it has been observed that if the LRT project is implemented, it will incur a heavy operating cost.