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Sri Lanka Railway Dept. to undergo restructuring following Cabinet approval

Wednesday, 26 July 2023 00:32 –      – 44

 


 

  • Cabinet Co-Spokesman and Minister Bandula Gunawardena requests committee for structural, qualitative and quantitative changes in Department 
  • Claims sudden disruption is due to ongoing CID investigations into malpractices conducted by Railway employees for decades

The Sri Lanka Railway Department is set to undergo a significant restructuring process following the approval granted by the Cabinet of Ministers on Monday to appoint a committee consisting of relevant subject experts.

The proposal, presented by the Transport and Highways Minister Bandula Gunawardena received unanimous support to submit appropriate proposals to restructure the Department under a more suitable framework.

“The appointed committee will comprise subject experts with a deep understanding of the transportation sector. They will be entrusted with analysing the current structure, identifying areas for improvement and proposing solutions that align with best practices and the Department’s unique needs. This will include a structural, qualitative and quantitative change in the department,” Cabinet Co-Spokesman and Minister Bandula Gunawardena said at the post-Cabinet meeting media briefing yesterday.

The move comes after Sri Lanka Railways Department trade unions decided on a sudden strike this week, which led to the cancellation of around 25 train journeys in eight train lines. The service provided by Sri Lanka Railways Department in carrying the daily commuters to their workplaces is inevitable. Sri Lanka Railway operates approximately 396 trains which include 67 long-distance and 16 intercity trains and carries about 3.72 million passengers daily.

Recognising the need for restructuring, the Sri Lanka Railway Department aims to optimise its service rendering by addressing existing administrative, financial, and monitoring challenges. As a vital A-grade Government department responsible for both passenger and goods transportation, it is crucial to streamline operations and enhance efficiency to ensure a smooth and precise level of service delivery.

Gunawardena claimed that the key reason for the sudden disruption is due to the ongoing CID investigations into the malpractices conducted by Sri Lanka Railways Department for decades.

“Once the comprehensive report is received from the CID, I will table it at the Parliament and take stern action against all involved,” he stressed.

The primary objectives of the restructuring process include streamlining administrative processes, optimising financial management, and enhancing monitoring activities. “By achieving these goals, the Department seeks to operate more efficiently, ensuring seamless transportation services to passengers and goods across the country,” he added.

Gunawardena said people were insisting to privatise the railways in the hope following the sudden trade union actions over the past few years hoping that service would improve. However, he was not recommending privatisation but affirmed committee would look at options available to make the railways more productive.

SLR owns and maintains 1561km of rail tracks, 72 locomotives, 78 power sets, 565 carriages and the signalling network. At present, it has a workforce of 17,634.

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