Railway unions calls President to stop importing locomotives from India

Nov 30, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Railway Trade Union Alliance has urged the President and Prime Minister to stop importing what they called substandard locomotives from India.

The alliance said that two separate cabinet papers are to be submitted to the cabinet seeking approval to import locomotives, power sets, and railway carriages as well as to construct railways.

Railway Trade Union Alliance has pointed out that the previous M – 8 and M – 10 types of engines imported from India has a very weak level of performance and technical design.

The alliance said twenty S -11 train sets imported from India in 2011 are the weakest type of trains joined their railway fleet.

“Front of these trains have been completed with fiberglass, engine wheels and axles of the carriages are very quickly wear away.” the alliance said.

Railway Trade Union Alliance said usually an engine has a warranty period of 05 years, but India is providing only two years for their engines.

“There are even due payments from suppliers with regard to breakdowns during the warranty period,” the alliance said.

“We don’t even receive required tool kits to repair these engines due to various administrative shortcomings.”

Sri Lanka has 1,567 km of railway lines in the country.

Railway Trade Union Alliance stressed that the labor force at the Railway Department has the capability of constructing a railway less than the cost of China or India.

“Because of various issues, we urged the President and Prime Minister to reject these cabinet proposals.” the alliance further said.

Meanwhile the budget proposed to modernize the Kelani Valley line where the speed and the carrying capacity to be increased.

It also proposed to allow railway track sharing with the private sector to use the railway tracks at a fee for the purpose of transporting goods and for tourism.

A Railways Development Council is also to be established comprising of 5 members appointed by the Government to identify strategies to improve the yield of the underutilized assets of Railway Department.