Transport Minister Dullas Alahapperuma has underlined the importance of the country’s train service in the passenger transport sector. Minister Alahapperuma said he was planning to re-energise the country’s train service and make it more popular with the commuters.
The Minister no doubt will have his work cut out given the state of affairs in the Railways which he inherited. Today the Railway Department cannot cope with the demand of the heavy volume of train commuters and it is a common sight to see trains – especially the office trains spilling over with passengers endangering life and limb.
Add to this is irregular timetables which often result in commuters turning violent and frequent derailments. The trade unions too add to the chaos turning the Railway into a sick giant.
Minister Alahapperuma who is known as a go getter should get down to brass tacks and find a way of hoisting the Railway from its present state of deterioration. A huge shake up is called for encompassing all its spheres if the service is to be restored to its once elevated standard.
The Minister should also try to ascertain the reasons why the Department is in the red and measures taken to turn it into a profitable venture. While adding to the existing compartment capacity is welcome, much more needs to be done to pull the railway out of its sorry plight.
There is no gainsaying that our Railway network should be modernised in line with some of the Asian Railway systems. There was much talk about the introduction of electric trains for intercity travel. Although the cost may be prohibitive this could solve the huge traffic congestion in the cities while also arresting smoke pollution.
There have been many rail track extension projects on the drawing boards but no headway has been made. Our trains still operate on the same rail tracks constructed by the British with hardly any expansion. The Minister should also try to make use of the vast extents of Railway property that are lying idle.
A Task Force of experts should be appointed to identify the ills affecting the Railways and a blueprint drawn for the overall development of the service.
Source: Daily News
Tags: brass tacks, commuters, drawing boards, electric trains, extension projects, passenger transport, profitable venture, railway department, railway network, smoke pollution, trade unions, traffic congestion, train service, transport minister, transport sector