Expert committee to be appointed to restructure and improve Sri Lanka Railways

The Cabinet of Ministers advised the Secretary to the President to appoint an expert committee for the purpose of obtaining necessary recommendations for a complete restructure and improvement of Sri Lanka Railways service, says Transport Minister Bandula Gunawardena.

He added that it has been recognized that the Department of Sri Lanka Railways required to be restructured in order to maintain the service rendering at a precise level by minimizing issues erupted by now in regard to administration, financial and monitoring activities of the Sri Lanka Railway Department, which serves both passenger transportation and goods transportation and categorized as an A grade government department.
Accordingly, since the concurrence of all the relevant parties to the Department has been received for the purpose, the Cabinet has approved the proposal furnished by the Minister of Transport and Highways to appoint a committee comprised of relevant subject experts to submit appropriate proposals in regard to restructuring the Department under a more appropriate structure, the cabinet spokesman said.

Nevertheless, earlier on several occasions, the railway trade unions stressed that although the authorities are working towards restructuring the Railway Department, they would not allow them to do so.

Meanwhile, over 35 train journeys were cancelled yesterday (24), owing to a trade union action launched by a group of engine drivers on Sunday (23) against the Railway Department’s efforts to commence several new train services.

Furthermore, 04 office trains were also cancelled this morning (25) since the driving assistants had not reported to duties, according to the Department of Railways.

Speaking to the media in this regard, Minister Gunawardene emphasized yesterday that a strict decision will be reached in the Cabinet against the execution of railway strikes causing inconvenience to the public.

However, the minister, who claimed that the passengers’ demand was to privatize the railway service, mentioned that it is not possible, and also requested time to make the department an authority in order to solve the issues pertaining to the railways, without privatizing it.