Sri Lanka has had wrong policy in transport: Eran

Dec 31, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has had wrong policy in encouraging private transport and congesting the roads, making it inefficient and polluting the environment, a deputy minister said.

“As you can see we have too many vehicles on the roads,” Eran Wickramaratne, deputy minister, State Enterprise Development said.

“The biggest frustration when you land at the Colombo airport is that it starts with a pleasant drive unlike a few years ago, but when you get to the city the traffic hits you,” he said.

The deputy minister was speaking to an audience of expats and recent returnees at the Work-In-Sri Lanka (WISL) conference 2015 in Colombo, recently.

“From my ministry office in Fort to my electoral district in Moratuwa in the out skirts of the city it take more than two hours in my private vehicle – so I take the train, a forty minute journey – which also I would not recommend to anyone as it is rather uncomfortable because the trains are overcrowded and congested.”

However, the Minister says that now the country is heading towards a more enhanced and efficient transport system.

“So I think we have had wrong policy in encouraging lots of private transport and congesting the roads – making it inefficient and polluting the environment, while we should have been investing in public transport.”

“Now we have a plan – it’s a long term plan,” he said.

“But unfortunately it will take two year period post January 8th in which period the economy will have to go through many reforms before we starting investing in public transport and other such necessities.”

The Ministry of Transport has drawn up a master plan to promote a transport system which is environment-friendly, accessible and affordable to commuters. The plan includes measures for a rapid bus transit system, electrification and widening railways and urban railway development.