Richardson Technologies Ltd embarks on long-awaited Smart City Project in Colombo

Richardson Technologies Ltd. (RTPL) is now going ahead with the long awaited Smart City project in the Colombo municipality areas following the successful conclusion to Court action by the unsuccessful bidder.

The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) called for tenders from interested parties to submit offers for the Supply, Installation, Commissioning and Maintenance of LED Smart Street Lighting Systems for the city of Colombo, on a Private Public Partnership basis with zero capital cost to the CMC.

RTPL was awarded the tender on 11 January 2018. The scope was to engage private companies to invest in public infrastructure and transform Colombo into a Smart City and deliver the objectives of the CMC. The investment made by the successful bidder was to be recovered partly by utilising the existing street lighting infrastructure to offer features, such as advertising and communication services in the city of Colombo.

The total investment to be made by Richardson was approximately Rs. 3 billion to convert Colombo into a Smart City, which included, but was not limited to installation of LED lamps, upgrading power distribution infrastructure for street lighting, installation of 200 CCTV cameras, Micro BTS, WiFi service and RFID sensors.

The Smart City Technology is adopted by many cities across the world, including Europe, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and India to promote an efficient platform by using existing street lighting infrastructure to offer enhanced services.

Some of the benefits to the CMC and the citizens of Colombo without having to take on the financial burden of this project include the ability to remotely control and optimise the street lighting system in the city, eliminating dark spots and facilitate well illuminated streets to the citizens at the end of the project implementation period, automated fault reporting for quick rectification and restoration, and obtain critical traffic data/information and ensuring citizen safety through the CCTV system for designing of roads in the city.

Anticipated power saving is approximately 55%, equivalent to 7.2 million kWh (value Rs. 123 million) per annum.  This will have a significant impact as the power will be saved during peak hour consumption.

CO2 emission reduction of 17,710 MT during the first five years of the project and 88,560 MT during the last 15 years of the project. The total reduction of CO2 emission during the entire project period as a result of the conversion of Street Lamps to LED lamps will be 106,270 MT.

The City of Colombo had been denied this project for over two and a half years by a court action in the Court of Appeal brought by an unsuccessful bidder – Sierra Construction Ltd., whose application to the Court of Appeal was dismissed on 19 June.

The Petitioner filed this application, seeking inter alia a Writ of Certiorari to quash the decision to award the Letter of Acceptance to the Second Respondent – Richardson. The Colombo Municipal Council and Richardson filed limited Objections and objected to the grant of notice as the Petitioner Sierra Construction Limited had failed to follow the process mandated in the bid document by not submitting a valid bid.

In a 20-page judgment by Justice Arjuna Obeysekere, the Court of Appeal has meticulously analysed the arguments of the parties and rejected the grounds put forward by the Petitioner Sierra. The Court of Appeal and went on to hold that the Court sees no legal basis to issue formal notice of this application to the Respondents and dismissed the Petition.

It is evident that the CMC has upheld transparency in awarding this tender ensuring the rate payer and the citizens of Colombo, the best available products and services to make Colombo a model city.

Speaking on smart cities Richardson Managing Director Nazri Nizar said that whilst he regretted the delay in commencing this project due to the court action, he was also happy that the Judgment had shown that the tender process was transparent.

He also commented that the RTPL team is very ambitious of the success of the project and has brought in a team of experts, who are committed to making Colombo one of Asia’s best cities.