- Loan provided at 0.1% p.a. for civil works and 0.01% p.a. for engineering services cost
- To be repaid in 40 years, which includes a 12-year grace period
The Sri Lankan government yesterday signed a concessionary loan agreement with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to borrow JPY 30,040 million (approx. Rs.48 billion) for engineering services and construction of a light rail transit (LRT) line between Malabe and Colombo Fort.
The loan is expected to finance Sri Lanka’s first rail-based, electrified urban mass rapid transit line.
A JICA statement said the project loan is provided under special terms for economic partnership, with an interest rate of 0.1 percent per annum for civil works and equipment cost and 0.01 percent per annum for engineering services cost.
The repayment period of the loan is 40 years, which includes a 12-year grace period.
The JICA statement said the Sri Lankan government had requested for the cost of infrastructure, rolling stock and engineering services to be financed through a series of time-slice loans from JICA, in line with the annual fund requirement for the project.
The proposed LRT line has a total length of approximately 16 kilometres, with 16 stations. The stations are placed at frequently accessed locations and include Malabe-IT Park, Battaramulla, Rajagiriya, Cotta Road Railway Station and National Hospital, up to the current Fort/Pettah railway station.
The entire rail track and stations will be on elevated viaducts to minimize the requirement of land acquisition. At peak travel times in the morning and evening, trains are planned to run every two to three minutes (headway). Each four-carriage train will have a passenger capacity of over 800, which could be increased by adding more carriages in the future, when necessary. With an 80km/h top speed, the travel time from Malabe to Fort will be approximately 30 minutes (including stopping time at stations) with the LRT.
To facilitate inter-connectivity with other public transport modes, multi-modal terminals are proposed at Malabe (together with bus terminal) and Cotta Road (connecting with railway). At Fort/Pettah, the LRT line will connect to the planned Multi-Modal Transport Hub accessible to both railway and bus. The station facilities and LRT carriages will be designed to ensure accessibility to persons with disabilities, as well as passengers with small children and senior citizens.The feasibility study, including the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the project, was conducted with grant financing from JICA. The EIA has been approved by the Central Environmental Authority.
Although the elevated viaduct will minimize the requirement, some land acquisition is needed at the depot and some of the station locations.
The Megapolis and Western Development Ministry, the executing agency for the project, is expected to conduct such acquisition in accordance with the National Involuntary Resettlement Policy and JICA’s environmental and social considerations guidelines to ensure inclusive development through public projects.Since the railway tracks and stations are constructed at high elevation and over national roadways with high traffic volume, appropriate safety measures during construction are critical to ensure the safety of the construction personnel and the public. JICA said it would continue to pay special attention to the safety aspects in the implementation of the project.
The loan agreement for the Malabe-Fort LRT was signed by Finance Ministry Secretary Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunge and JICA Sri Lanka Office Chief Representative Fusato Tanaka, with the participation of the ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka, Megapolis and Western Development Ministry secretary and other