Colombo Light Rail is first step to 21st Century Sri Lanka – PM

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

The Colombo Light Railway project is a significant step forward to ensure that Sri Lanka is on its way to becoming a modern, twenty first century society, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe made this observation participating in the launch ceremony of the Colombo Light Rail project which was held at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel yesterday evening. The Light Rail Transit (LRT) project is a Japan funded project worth 2.2 USD BN that will connect Malabe and Fort with a modern light train service for the general public.

Japanese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Akira Sugiyama, Minister for Megapolis and Western Development Patali Champika Ranawaka, Minister for Transportation and Civil Aviation Arjuna Ranatunge, State Minister for Transportation and Civil Aviation Ashoka Abeysinghe, and Colombo Mayor Rosy Senanayake were present at the launch ceremony.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said that the present government had strenuously strived towards modernization during the last five years. “Today, along with the commencement of this Colombo Light Railway, we are witnessing the birth of a new Megapolis. If we want modernization, we have to think for the future. This is one step to ensure that Sri Lanka is on its way to become a modern, twenty first century society. This LRT will modernize our transportation system. If we want a modern country, every sector in the country should be modernized,” he said.

“We have taken another major step in making this megapolis the largest city in the Indian ocean. To be a modern Megapolis we must have all the modern facilities including infrastructure, education and transportation. Sri Lanka has only started the process. As the population in and around Colombo has grown, transportation in these areas has become a major hurdle. This Colombo Light Railway certainly helps us immensely by bringing the most modern transport system into the country,” Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said.

Premier Wickremesinghe also expressed his gratitude to the government of Japan for helping Sri Lanka to make the light railway project a reality. “This modern transportation system was made possible by the government of Japan. It is a generous gift given to us by the Japanese government, so I must thank the government of Japan, its Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for this initiative. And also for JAICA that is responsible for this project.” he said.

The Premier also commended Minister Champika Ranawaka for successfully initiating the LRT project without any delays. “We have talked about introducing modern transportation to this country for a long time. When we assumed the government, we entrusted this daunting task to Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka. He has met with the challenge exceptionally well. I have to commend Minister Ranawaka and his team for this successful work.” he added.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said that the government is not only carrying out Megapolis projects, but also implementing programs for the benefit of low income earners in the country.

(Source: Daily News – By Amali Mallawaarachchi)