20th September 2010, www.dailynews.lk, By Ramani Kangaraarachchi
A leading Malaysian company is to develop a US $ 100 million speed railway project in Sri Lanka. The proposed railway from Colpetty to the Katunayake Airport is aimed at the huge influx of expected tourist arrivals in the coming years.
Airport Express Lanka Ltd, Director Dr Parimalan Rajo Isa Michael told Daily News Business that he is awaiting Sri Lankan Government’s endorsement to commence the project next year. He said that an eight storey hotel of international standards with a shopping complex in the beach front will be constructed where tourists can check in from the airport straight away at the Colpetty station.
A new railway track along the coastal line will be built parallel to the existing line and it will be operated by wind power technology from Denmark.
Electricity also will be used to a certain extent. Required land will be leased to have ample parking space. This project will contribute to the Sri Lanka Electricity Board, the tourism industry and other Government agencies in a big way. The State Engineering Corporation will design the entire project.
The 35 Km long railway track will be completed in two and a half years without any cost to the Sri Lanka Government. Funding will be provided by Malaysian and US companies.
Dr Michel said that this improvement of the railway station will create a number of employment opportunities for Sri Lankans in the fields of construction, engineering, labour supply and trading. The hotel will be run by Malaysians and latest technology will be applied in every system and software will come from Hong Kong.
The railway company is hoping to do 18 trips a day and 120 passengers can be accommodated in a train.
The company is hoping to recover the investment in 15 to 25 years.