Locally assembled ultra-modern low floor buses in market by October | Daily News

Locally assembled ultra-modern low floor buses in market by October

Industry Minister Wimal Weerawansa, Director Lanka Ashok Leyland, Umesh Gautam and other officials at the Lanka Ashok Leyland Auto Assembly plant in Jalthara, Homagama
Industry Minister Wimal Weerawansa, Director Lanka Ashok Leyland, Umesh Gautam and other officials at the Lanka Ashok Leyland Auto Assembly plant in Jalthara, Homagama

Lanka Ashok Leyland has commenced the assembly of low floor ultra-modern buses in Sri Lanka at their auto assembly plant in Jalthara, Homagama.

“We have also commenced one assembly line and the new ultra-modern low floor buses will be available in the local market from next October,” said Director Lanka Ashok Leyland, Umesh Gautam. The Rs. 250 million project is partly funded through an Indian Ashok Leyland Credit line and already around Rs. 100 million has been invested.

A unique feature of the low floor buses is that the bus will be automatically lowered to the ground level when the bus stops to pick up passengers even allowing a passenger on a wheelchair to board the bus without assistance from another. “The bus will also have a specified area to accommodate wheelchairs.”

He said that they were assembling buses for the local market with plans for exports but discontinued it as the previous governments allowed the imports even offering huge tax concessions.

The company stopped assembling its vehicles in 1994 as it was cheaper to import Ashok Leyland vehicles entirely from India than to assemble it in Sri Lanka.

He said that they are already assembling Ashok Leyland trucks at a lower rate than the imported ones.

Lanka Ashok Leyland has a 28% stake in India and a 72% stake in Sri Lanka. 30% of it is owned by local shareholders and the remaining 42% is owned by Lanka Leyland State Company under the Ministry of Industries. Buses,lorries and other vehicles were assembled in Sri Lanka until 1994.

The Ministry of Industry has recently introduced a Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) on vehicle manufacturing, vehicle assembling and auto part manufacturing industries in Sri Lanka and this too would be a major boost to local industry.

Ashok Leyland Lanka will utilize the tax breaks and market opportunities provided to the automotive assembly and automotive manufacturing industries through the SOPs to create new employment opportunities for Sri Lankan technology and engineering graduates in the coming years. Industry Minister Wimal Weerawansa also visited the factory with Lanka Ashok Leyland Chairman Shantha Jayasena and other officials last week and said Lanka Ashok Leyland’s reinvestment for their assembly lines will help to restrict the import of vehicles and offer vehicles at a cheaper rate.

Minister Wimal Weerawansa stated that his aim is to assist to upgrade similar such thousands of locally assembled and auto parts manufacturers. “With these developments Sri Lanka soon will be in a position to enter the history books by becoming a ‘vehicle exports’ nation not only conventional buses and lorries but also in cars, specialized vehicles such as garbage lorries, water bowsers, concrete mixing trucks.