Sri Lanka’s President has ordered the termination of a $1.5-billion Japanese-funded light rail project, saying it is not a “cost-effective solution” for the congested capital Colombo, officials said on Thursday.
The deal signed under the previous government is the largest single foreign-funded infrastructure project in Sri Lanka, and was seen as a sign of the island nation reducing its dependence on China.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, elected last year, told the Transport Ministry to “terminate this project and close the project office with immediate effect”, top aide P.B. Jayasundara said in a letter to the ministry.
There was no immediate comment from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which in March last year loaned 30 billion yen ($285 million) to finance the first phase of the Light Rail Transit (LRT). Japanese technology including rolling stock was to be used on the rail system, which included 16 stations over 15.7 km.