(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – The opportunity to travel from Jaffna to Colombo by train in the shortest time will arise in the near future, Minister of Transport, Highways and Mass Media Dr. Bandula Gunawardena said.
Minister Gunawardena, who came to Jaffna by train Saturday to learn about the problems in the public transport service in the Northern Province, traveled by train from Jaffna to Kankesanthurai today and engaged in observation of the railway line.
Speaking to media at Kankesanthurai railway station, Minister Gunawardena said section of the Northern Line from Mahawa to Vavuniya will be completely modernized in a short period of time to reduce the time taken by the intercity train to reach Jaffna from Colombo by an hour.
The Minister said that it will provide special convenience to the people of Jaffna as well as the local and foreign tourists coming to Jaffna.
Also, arrangements have been made to start a special freight train from Jaffna to Colombo. After Dr. Bandula Gunawardena assumed the post of Minister of Transport, three new trains to Jaffna have been started up to now. Jaffna Night Express, Jaffna Night Mail Train and Kili Devi Train running from Vavuniya to Kilinochchi have been put into operation.
The Minister also instructed the officials including the General Manager of Railways to increase the number of these journeys in the future.
Minister Gunawardena also visited the Jaffna bus depot and several institutions belonging to the Sri Lanka Transport Board. The Minister visited all the sections of the depots and inquired about their current situation and had a friendly discussion with their staff.
The Minister said that since the necessary steps have already been taken to overcome the shortage of spare parts and tires, more buses can be put into operation in the future.
He also emphasized the importance of using the services of skilled technicians in the depots more methodically for the repair of dilapidated buses.
Having observed the derelict condition of entrance roads and premises of the depots in Jaffna area, the Minister instructed the officials of the Ministry of Highways to repair and carpet the roads as soon as possible.
Jaffna District Member of Parliament Angajan Ramanathan, the Secretary of the Ministry of Transport and Highways, the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Transport Board, Road Development Authority officials and others were present at the occasion.