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FEATURE STORY

Metro Colombo Urban Development Project FAQ

April 29, 2014

What are the objectives of Metro Colombo Urban Development Project (MCUDP)?

To (i) reduce flooding in the catchment of the Colombo water basin, and (ii) strengthen the capacity of local authorities in the Colombo Metropolitan Area (CMA) to rehabilitate, improve and maintain local infrastructure and services through selected demonstration investments.

What is the duration of the project?

The implementation phase is designed to be five years, starting from 2012.

Is the World Bank responsible for project implementation?

No, project implementation responsibilities fall under the Project Management Unit (PMU) that has been established under the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development (MoDUD).  An Additional Secretary of MoDUD has been appointed as the Project Director for the PMU. The PMU operates under the oversight of a steering committee, chaired by the Secretary, MoDUD and composed of Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation (SLLR&DC), Urban Development Authority (UDA), Ministry of Local Government and Provincial Councils, National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB), Ministry of Irrigation and Participating Local Authorities. Other ministries and agencies will be identified as stand by members such as the Central Environmental Authority, to be called upon for relevant issues that need to be addressed. The World Bank’s role is to provide ongoing guidance and support to the Government of Sri Lanka during the implementation phase.

Is ‘beautification’ and ‘face-lifting’ a primary objective of all interventions carried out under MCUDP?

No, the main objective is to reduce the flooding that Colombo has experienced in the past through various planned interventions, while at the same time improving the overall capacity of implementing agencies and project local authorities for the operation and maintenance of metropolitan and local infrastructure.  

What people might refer to as “beautification” is in fact only one aspect of improved livability of the urban environment, as it goes deeper than the surface of interventions that primarily aim to improve drainage, the functionality of the urban landscape and promote pedestrian safety. These interventions require coordination with all utilities, such as water, electricity and telecommunications; in some cases also include burying of cables and introduction of ducts to prevent future digging for cabling.  In particular, preventing future digging of upgraded roads by utilities requires strong coordination and integration of plans among various agencies such as the Ceylon Electricity Board, Telecommunication Service Providers, National Water Supply and Drainage Board, Local Authorities etc. Therefore, these investments contribute to the overall improvement of livability of Colombo Metropolitan Region.

Is the MCUDP the only ongoing project aimed at Colombo city development?

No. There are a number of other ongoing projects that have been initiated through various government agencies and the Colombo Municipal Council as part of the Government’s urban development activities. MCUDP is only a component of the overall city development program.

What type of flood reduction measures will MCUDP support?

The MCUDP is taking a multi-pronged approach to flood reduction. First, the project will improve the conveyance capacity of the present storm water drainage networks by rehabilitating selected priority canals and drains.

Second, the project will augment the flood discharge capacity of the system by constructing new diversions paths through tunneling, open cut channels and with the introduction of pumping stations and the construction of flood controlling structures.

Third, the project will also introduce an integrated flood management system. It will introduce for the first time the concept of integrated flood management, promoting the coordination and collaboration of all sector institutions active in the basin.  Lastly, provision of machinery and equipment for the maintenance of the canal system to a pre-agreed standard is expected to ensure the sustainability of the network.

Can the MCUDP completely prevent flooding in Colombo?

No, the project aims to mitigate the flood damage, and is looking at reducing the area under risk of flooding resulting from the capacity constraints in the macro and micro drain networks. The improvements to the macro drainage network is expected to reduce the inundation area for a 50 year return period flood by 40%, and for the selected local flooding areas it is expected that a 10 year return period flood would be avoided. Priority areas to be financed under the project have been selected, based on the frequency of flooding and its overall socio-economic consequences, but the project will not be able to address all flooding areas in Colombo. However, most flood mitigation projects under MCUDP have not yet started; the results will only be gradually seen in the next 3-5 years.

Is the Project Management Unit (PMU) located in the World Bank’s office?

The PMU has its own office located in Sethsiripaya New Building, Battaramulla.

How can any group or citizen interested in learning about MCUDP obtain information?

Information related to the MCUDP is available on both MODUD website and the World Bank website. In addition, information leaflets and brochures related to project interventions can be obtained from the Information Centre at the Project Management Unit (PMU) Office, Sethsiripaya New Building, Battaramulla. The PMU can be contacted by email at mcudp@sltnet.lk and by phone at 011 288 7047/8 on weekdays from 9.00am to 5.00pm. 

Does financial assistance provided by the World Bank represent a grant or loan?

It is a loan.

Does MCUDP have full funding from the World Bank to successfully complete the project?

The World Bank loan is for USD 213 million, while the Government of Sri Lanka is contributing USD 108 million towards project implementation. The loan amount will be transferred to the Government of Sri Lanka in a couple of tranches according to the implementation progress, throughout the 5-year implementation period.

How does the project deal with environmental impacts?

An Environmental Management Framework (EMF) has been prepared to comply with the World Bank’s safeguard policies and the national environmental regulations in the country. The EMF provides the basis for early identification of environmental impacts specific to the project and the avoidance/mitigation of them. The net environmental impact of MCUDP is essentially positive resulting in improved drainage and reduced flood damage. However, there might be negative impacts during the implementation period. These impacts are mostly construction related, short-term, localized in nature and can be managed with good construction practices.

Will any community or groups be displaced due to MCUDP?

The project will make every effort to ensure that displacement is minimized, while in cases where there is no option but to resettle, a Social Management Framework has been developed that will provide procedures for legal framework, entitlements, procedures for assessing impacts and planning and implementing resettlement action plans for proposed activities. The actual number that may need to be re-located/re-settled will be dependent upon a detail assessment for each sub-project. 

Who is responsible for procurement under the MCUDP and does the World Bank conduct procurement for MCUDP?

The Project Management Unit (PMU) has overall responsibility for project procurements.  The project implementing agencies like Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation, Colombo Municipal Council and Urban Development Authority are carrying out the procurements themselves under the overall supervision of the PMU. The PMU is carrying out the procurements on behalf of Local Authorities; namely Sri Jayawardenapura - Kotte, Dehiwela- Mt. Lavinia and Kolonnawa.

The World Bank does not carry out procurement for MCUDP, however there are certain projects where the Bank reviews the procurement process at critical stages prior to contract award.

What kind of procedures and mechanisms are in place to ensure transparency of procurement related transactions?

The Project Management Unit is required to maintain an updated procurement plan which is published on the MCUDP website and at the World Bank website. All the procurement opportunities are advertised locally and internationally.

Who has ownership of the machinery and vehicles procured by the government under this project?

All machinery and vehicles procured through the project are the property of the Government of Sri Lanka and will be owned by the relevant agencies.

Since the Project Management Unit is under the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, who implements the contracted works? 

All works financed by the MCUDP are carried out by civil contractors competitively selected following World Bank procurement guidelines.