Foreign- funded Colombo Metro feasibility study begins
RAILWAYS: The proposed Metro railway system for Colombo
suburbs is underway and already a consortium of three companies is
conducting feasibility studies on this project. The studies would be
completed by June next year.
An Indian metro rail
A rare feature of this project is that the entire funding for the
project would come from foreign investors.
The consortium consists of Siemens of Germany; OPUS of Malaysians NEB
Infrastructure India and UTI bank India. OPUS Malaysia, which is
managing the Malaysian MRT, is expected to manage the Colombo Metro
while Siemens of Germany would provide the trains.
The initial discussion in this regard was held last year with the
Board of Investment and approval was granted for this project.
The cost of each kilometre is expected to be around US $ 100 million.
An official of the BoI said that the Metro Colombo would initially
consist of 22-kilometres and would be built on the center meridian on
the main road.
"This would minimise land acquisition which is a major problem in
many infrastructure development projects," he said.
The consortium is now conducting studies on the three proposed routes
for the Colombo Metro.
An extension of the Metro in India
The main Metro station would be at D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha, Fort.
From this point Metro would run to Ratmalana and Battaramulla.
The second stage of the project would be to the Colombo airport via
Traffic jams is one of the major problems in the Colombo city and the
introduction of the Colombo Metro would reduce travelling time to the
Colombo by almost 70 percent. "Since more people would be travelling in
the Metro there would be less traffic to Colombo," he said.
India has taken a lead in the Metro train system with the
introduction of the Delhi Metro network, which has now gone up to 65.1
km with 59 stations.
The Government on September 30, 2004, gave approval for the section
and physical work started in December 2004.
The Pragati Maidan station is the largest on the section and has been
built over an area of 6,800 square metres. It is an elevated station
with the platform at a height of 11.44 metres from ground level.
The metro train concept first introduced in developed countries is
now the most used mode of transport in these countries, which prompted
Asian countries to follow.