(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa says that no matter what development project is implemented, its primary objective should be to meet the needs of the people. He pointed out that development projects that do not meet the needs of the people should be confined to history.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa expressed these views while participating in a discussion held at the Ministry of Finance on the first phase of the proposed railway project aimed at reducing traffic congestion in the city of Colombo.
Under the first phase of the project, three railway lines have been identified for construction covering Colombo and suburbs.
It is proposed to construct one route from Ragama to Kirulapone via Colombo Fort, the other road to Kelaniya via Moratuwa, Piliyandala, Narahenpita and the third to Hunupitiya via Kottawa, Pannipitiya and Thalawathugoda, officials of the Urban Development Authority told the Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said that the inclusion of Maharagama, one of the most populous cities, in the project would be more beneficial.
The Prime Minister pointed out that a large number of people from the outstations are coming to the Maharagama area and said that the project will also alleviate the severe traffic congestion in the city.
Pointing out that development should be done for the benefit of the people, Prime Minister Rajapaksa said that the country does not need development projects that do not meet the requirement of the people.
Accordingly, the city of Maharagama could be included in the 21.5 km Kottawa-Hunupitiya railway line, Urban Development Authority officials told the Prime Minister.
The daily economic loss to Sri Lanka due to traffic congestion in 2019 is estimated at Rs. 1000 million. As a solution to this, the city bus project which was recently launched by the present government is now being implemented successfully.
The aim of this project is to connect the people who come to Colombo in their private vehicles to the railway system through the bus project.
The project, to be implemented as Public Private Partnership is expected to be completed in four years and needs a US$ 5 billion in foreign direct investment. A 6% government contribution is also proposed to be provided for this project. This railway project alone is expected to save around Rs. 550 million daily.
The Prime Minister advised that in inviting foreign investors to the project, all their requests should be carefully considered and that the responsibility lies with the authorities of the Urban Development Authority.
State Minister of Finance Ajith Nivard Cabraal and Secretary to the Ministry of Finance S R. Attygalle and others were also present at the discussion.