Electric train service from Veyangoda to Panadura will start soon: Nimal Siripala | Daily News

Electric train service from Veyangoda to Panadura will start soon: Nimal Siripala

Irangika Range The proposed electric train service from Veyangoda to Panadura will start soon cutting down on journey time, money and fuel, Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said.

The government will receive technical and financial support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to design and implement Sri Lanka's Railway Electrification and Modernisation Project (REMP). US $ 600 million will be initially provided by the ADB bank for the construction work.

The minister was speaking at the presentation of appointment letters to 114 new railway guards at the Railways Headquarters yesterday.

The minister said the vacancies have existed for the past 10 years. These are not political appointments. They were selected after a test conducted by the Education Ministry and the interviews of the Transport Ministry. However, during the previous regime, over 3,000 workers were recruited to the railway on the basis of politics without qualifications. Most of them are women. This makes it hard to do labour work such as moving sleepers, he said.

Plans are afoot to develop the railway sector extending railway lines, constructing new lines and importing more train engines, compartments while recruiting manpower to provide better transport service to commuters, he said.

Meanwhile, a new railway line will be constructed from Kurunegala to Habarana under the instructions of President Maithripala Sirisena while single lines will be doubled in many areas, Minister de Silva said He said the railway obliged to provide a satisfactory service to the public.

However, the railway is running at a loss due to many concessions granted to various sectors of passengers. The season ticket from Matara to Colombo is only Rs.730 for a month which is Rs. 26 for a single day, he said. "There are arguments that trains could be made to run faster, but the geographical difficulties and many level crossings make this impossible," the minister said.

Transport and Civil Aviation Deputy Minister Ashoke Abeysinghe said priority should be given to develop railway which is the cheapest transport mode of the people. The government should allocate funds to the Transport Ministry, he said.

"The Railway Department can make profit by transporting goods. We are engaged in transporting coal from Puttalam," Abeysinghe said.


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