‘Passenger, cargo sector utilize only 2% of rail transport in Sri Lanka’ | Daily News
Solar based railway network with diversification of CGR lands must to face fuel, transport crisis

‘Passenger, cargo sector utilize only 2% of rail transport in Sri Lanka’

Sri Lanka passenger and cargo transport sector together utilize only 2% of rail transport disclosed Founder/ Chairman at Ideal Motor Group Nalin Welgama.

Welgama said that this is a crime and quick action should be taken to increase the use of railway (CGR) by both passenger and cargo transport sectors which in turn will firstly help to reduce Sri Lanka’s huge fuel import bill and secondly facilitate the CGR to earn more money to their coffers.

Sri Lanka currently has 1,500 KM of railway, 360 stations and has one of the biggest land assets when it comes to government institutions. However sadly this land base is unaccounted for and firstly these lands should be identified and ‘taken into the books’.

When this is done railway stations can enter into a JV with local and foreign entrepreneurs to use their railway stations in iconic locations to have mini hotels. Restaurant and surrounding land can be given for other development on a 30 year lease enabling entrepreneurs to even take a bank loan to develop their project.

Nalin Welgama

Solar can also be fitted on railway station roofs with storing capacities making that particular railway station self-sufficient in electricity. `”My sister company, Mahindra Solar too can help in this project if needed.”

Secondly a more focused approach is needed to lure goods transport via the government railway which is still the cheapest mode of transport. “Only limited merchandise such as fuel, theeposha and few other commodities are currently transported and steps should be taken to include the transport of merchandise such as cement, clinker flour from Trincomalee harbors via trains.”

A trend setter in the transport sector, he said that train carriages must be made more comfortable and attractive to draw a higher number of office staff using them.

“One simple way to do this is by air conditioning the carriages. One of the leading Indian based railway carriage builders now in Sri Lanka; TANTRI is ready to do this by installing solar panels on top of rail carriages. This would be able to power the rail carriages with solar lighting and also wifi connectedly. ”

He said another vital point is to offer ‘first and last mile connectivity’ as railway stations allowing people who ascend and descend the trains to have a mode of bus, three wheels or motor bike to transport the passenger to their first or last destination. Welgama also suggested the introduction of a ‘touch transport card’ enabling office staff to avoid ‘ticket queues’ and also a new booking system similar to the current effective long distance bus booking system. The new Minister of Transport Bandula Gunawardane too is looking to modernize the railway and I am also keen to assist towards this endeavor.


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