IESL refutes ‘KV line project to be cancelled’ claim

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The Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka (IESL) claimed that they have never requested the KV line project to be cancelled, as claimed in social and other media.

IESL is an Institution incorporated by an Act of Parliament. While IESL continues to vigorously promote the need to upgrade railways and electrification including the KV line, IESL would not agree to inflated passenger forecasts, expensive designs, inflated cost estimates and inflated benefit estimates to justify such inflated costs.

In a special press release IESL said it did not object to the expensive design, the consultant may have had his way, and by 2019, Sri Lanka may have committed to a USD 1424 million expenditure on the KV line, awarded contracts, suspended the service, and removed the existing KV line, and by now, be stranded with a half-built set of unwanted columns and a stalled project with no funds to complete.

In our view, the KV line project has not been cancelled by the government, but it is on hold until ADB provides an independent review of the consultants’ design for the project. Thereafter, with the essential corrections, the CSRP including the KV line must be implemented, either with ADB or other financial institutions.

“The Colombo Suburban Railway Project (CSRP) was initiated by the Government in 2015, as a result of IESL’s preliminary study in 2008, intense policy intervention from 2008-2015, and active facilitation from 2016-2018. On 7 July 2016, IESL’s work was formally handed over to the Ministry of Transport. The feasibility study commenced in 2016 with a grant from Asian Development Bank (ADB), followed by a loan from ADB for detailed feasibility studies and designs,” the statement said.

Following Cabinet Approval in 2015 and upon the request of the Ministry of Transport, IESL nominated two members to the Project Steering Committee of the Ministry. On appointment, our members diligently followed the results of feasibility studies and designs. Responses to Ministry requests for comments on studies and reports were prepared by the Transport Sector Committee of IESL, reviewed by the Council, and sent to the Ministry under the President’s signature, the release further added.