The Sunday Leader

Nimal’s Decision Draws Flack

by Nirmala Kannangara

Transport Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva’s attempt to offer the Maha Oya- Vavuniya railway track construction work to Indian Rites and Indian Railways Construction Company (IRCON) has come under severe criticism from railway department employees. Further De Silva’s plan to purchase ten power set engines and ten diesel locomotives from India on an Indian line of credit too has come under severe criticism.

Secretary All Ceylon Railway Employees General Union, S.P. Vithanage accused Minister De Silva for his attempt to purchase these Indian products when all locomotives and power set engines imported from India with a lesser warranty period had given immense trouble to Sri Lanka Railways (SLR). Accusing De Silva, Vithanage said that S-11 power set engines imported from India in 2011 could not be use  for more than two and a half years and since the warranty period has lapsed by then, they were unable to get it repaired. “Although every locomotive or power set engine get a five year warranty period the low quality Indian products do not get a warranty period for more than two years. If ten more power set engines and another ten locomotives are imported just because they are given on credit, the SLR will once again have to spend millions of rupees to get them repaired as they are sub- standard,” Vithanage added.

The Railway Department’s decision to give the Maha Oya- Vavuniyawa railway track contract to Indian Rites and IRCON will cost the country a staggering millions of rupees. “The northern railway line contract from Palai to Jaffna was given to Indian Rites and IRCON when Railway Department workers could have carried out the job for a lesser rate. The contract for the 56 km long northern railway stretch cost the country a staggering Rs.19,040 million when we could have completed this 56km stretch for Rs.5040 million. The sleepers, iron tracks and metal pieces were brought from India and their quality was substandard. If the proposed Maha Oya- Vavuniya contract is given to them the end result would be the same,” Vithanage said.

Vithanage further said that the Railway Department’s failure to import spare parts for S-8 power set engines would affect the short distance train services in the country.

“These S-8 power set engines were imported 25 years ago and still in running conditions. Out of these power set engines five are not out of order and has to import the spare parts from Hitachi- which is a Japanese company and MTU- a German Company based in Singapore. If the necessary spare parts are not imported immediately the short distance train service will come to a complete standstill,” Vithanage added.

2 Comments for “Nimal’s Decision Draws Flack”

  1. Dayan

    We were under impression that new government will be different from previous. But now see this is a continuation,

  2. Ikarus

    These railway track construction or any other contracts should never be given to INDIA at any time even if India’s bids are well below others. India is giving their railway track construction to China and Sri Lanka is giving to India which is well known for inferior quality of products. It is better to give these contracts to China, Russia, or Japan etc., because these countries will give a superior product to last a longer period with quality. Additionally, the Railway Department should start using specially reinforced concrete sleepers currnetly used in EU, which gives a longer service with minimum maintenance than old wooden sleepers which demands more maintenance to stop the rotting/decaying process. Additionally, Sri Lanka should think of buying railway engines from Germany because those are 100% quality products than those of Indian.

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