“There was a time the Railways had been totally neglected and destined to a natural death. The 20% share of passenger transport by train in the National Transport had been reduced to 6% during this time. The plan was for the Railways to be fragmented and sold. But after the Mahinda Rajapaksa government was elected, we have been able to revive Sri Lanka’s Railways by providing it with new coaches, power sets, locomotive engines and spare parts. The construction of a passengers rest at a cost of Rs. 50 million granted by the Chinese company Hubei, which supplied 15 power sets to Sri Lanka is a part of the revitalization of the Sri Lanka Railways,” Minister Alahapperuma emphasized.
Minister Alahapperuma appealed not to look at the National Transport Service through a political viewpoint but through a national viewpoint as the transport system has suffered an unrecoverable deterioration due to over politicization.
In the past, governments of the divide manipulated the SLTB as a job agency. Therefore, during the blue administration at the SLTB there was no place for the greens or reds. Similarly during the green administration there was no place for the blues and reds.
“All recruitments, promotions and transfers at the SLTB had been over politicized. This led to the total breakdown of the management and functions of the SLTB. When I took over the Transport Ministry, not only the Railways but the SLTB and all other institutions had been reduced to white elephants,” Minister Alahapperuma said.
The National Transport System does not mean only the Sri Lanka Railways and the SLTB. The private bus operation, school van service and three wheeler services are also a part of it. To improve the National Transport Service all these services have to be improved, he stressed.
Minister Alahapperuma said that not a single cent from the Ministry has been spent for publicity or promotion of the vast work programme launched to develop the transport sector in the last two years.
Transport Services Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna, Ministry Secretary Tilak Kollure and heads of media institutions were present at the ceremony.
By Sandun A. Jayasekera
Source: Daily Mirror
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