(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – The Minister of Transport and Highways and Minister of Mass Media Dr. Bandula Gunawardena has dismissed the media reports which said that train services were canceled due to the retirement of the employees.
Chairing the Ministerial consultative Committee on Transport and Highways meeting in Parliament last week, Minister Gunawardena said the train services were not canceled due to the retirement of the employees as reported by the media.
He said that due to the arrival of more tourists at the Katunayake Airport, more trains had to be deployed in the past few days to supply fuel, and for that reason, the trains had to be reduced somewhat.
The Minister said he expects to reveal the facts that the trains were not canceled as reported by the media.
The officials who were present pointed out that, even if a certain number of trains were to be canceled due to the retirement of Railway Department officials, it was not as high as reported by the media. The officials also said that though a small number of train journeys were cancelled, it was shown as a large amount by the media.
Also, the Minister inquired the officers present about the possibility of ending the cancelation of trains by the end of this month due to the retirement of officials. They also said that only 10 train drivers had retired at the end of last year.
Minister Bandula Gunawardena also pointed out that a new train schedule will be provided at the beginning of February, according to the available capacity in Railway Department.
Apart from that, the possibility of ordering tickets 100% online for long-distance train services with tourist attractions such as “Ella-Odyssey” was also discussed in the meeting.
The Committee also approved the Regulations published in the Gazette Extraordinary No. 2287/28 of 07 July 2022, made by the Minister of Transport and Highways and Minister of Mass Media under the Motor Traffic Act.
State Ministers Lasantha Alagiyawanna, Siripala Gamlath, Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, Anuradha Jayaratne, Shanta Bandara, Diana Gamage, Members of Parliament Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Mujibur Rahman, S. Adaikalanathan, Madhura Withanage, Sampath Athukorala, , Prof. Ranjith Bandara, Muditha Prishanthi de Soyza, Premnath C. Dolawatte, Upul Mahendra Rajapaksa, Gunathilaka Rajapaksa, Sumith Udukumbura and Manjula Dissanayake were also present at the committee.