|Colombo: 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. 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.
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 Peliyagoda.
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.