Off Track

Aug 13 – (LBO) A scrap iron sale at Sri Lanka’s troubled state-run railway has come under fire from unions after the successful tenderer allegedly removed serviceable carriages along with scrapped equipment. Controversy surrounds railways tenders in Sri Lanka, especially in procurement.

Two rail wagons, which are still in use by the railway department, was cut-up and taken away as scrap,” union leader Sumathipala Manawadu charged.

General Manager of the department of railways of Sri Lanka, K.A Pemasiri said some charges coming from the trade unions should be investigated.

So we are ready to investigate the allegations of the unions,” Pemasiri said.

Meanwhile unions also claimed that the tender was originally issued in 2002 when the market price of a kilogram of scrap iron was 16 rupees.

But now it was twice that. Unions allege that when the contract was renewed, the price has not been change to reflect market prices.

Manawadu says railway carriages not only have iron but other valuable metals such as bronze and copper.

But no survey has been done to find the value of the scrap before the tender.

Transport Minister A H M Fowzie denied knowledge of serviceable