|Saturday, 4 October 2003|
Rail strike continues, commuters stranded
by Manjula Fernando and Ranil Wijayapala
The Police rescued Fort Railway Station Master from angry commuters last night when they stormed his office in fury with the news that trains will not run due to another lightening strike by railway workers.
The news came as a surprise to thousands of office workers who arrived at the stations last evening, as Trade Unions had announced the previous day over the media that they have ended their 48 hour token strike from Thursday midnight.
Two trains which took off from Fort were abandoned at the Maradana station by the engine drivers after pressure from the Trade Unionists. Hundreds of angry commuters surrounded the Station Master's office at the Fort Station around 7.00 pm yesterday and attempted to manhandle the officer in charge. The police took action to transport the stranded commuters in private buses. Short distance buses were also deployed for the task. Arrangements were made to send commuters bound for long distances in the night mail trains, in buses.
The lightening strike was called in the afternoon in protest of recruiting three former workers, who were alleged to have been expelled earlier after disciplinary action, during the token strike to maintain a minimal service.
The Railways Authority Chairman called the action a sabotage attempt on the government and claimed that JVP was behind the strike which he termed as 'utterly unreasonable." "This action was launched just after a token strike which put the commuters in utter distress and their anger is just normal," Manatunge added.
Meanwhile, the Railway Engineers have confirmed the derailment near the Slave Island station on Wednesday was a sabotage and the CID has been informed to carry out a full scale investigation into the case to arrest the offenders.
One killed,two injured in morning rush
by Bharatha Malawaraarachchi
One commuter was killed and two others hospitalised as a result of the rush to cling onto moving trains.
The death had been caused when a person had fallen from the moving train at Lunawa yesterday morning. At the time of the incident, the train had been spilling over with passengers.
Another commuter was admitted to the Ragama hospital with his leg severed above the ankle as a result of falling while running to board the train. A girl in her twenties was also admitted to the Colombo National Hospital after falling unconscious inside a jam packed train compartment.
Produced by Lake House