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Transport Minister reveals burden of Sri Lanka Railways, loans essential for maintenance

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Minister of Transport Bandula Gunawardena stated that loans are now required even for the maintenance of railways.

Joining an event held in Kegalle, Gunawardena mentioned that the Sri Lanka Railways is making losses continuously.

The Transport Minister disclosed that Sri Lanka has recently borrowed 500 buses from India under the Indian credit line aimed at facilitating transportation to schools and hospitals in remote areas. He also emphasized that without resorting to loans, the state-owned Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) would struggle to acquire buses.

“Recently, the government has borrowed 500 buses from India under the Indian credit line and deployed them in areas where children have no buses to go to school or hospitals. Without borrowing, SLTB cannot acquire buses”, he said.

“There are trains that are 60-70 years old. They [Sri Lanka Railways] have no money to buy engines, as Sri Lanka Railways is making losses. When there are losses, there is no money even to lay tracks. People complain about train derailments.”

Thus, he expressed that Sri Lanka has obtained 10,000 tracks with a loan obtained from the Asian Development Bank, and the railway tracks are now being repaired and upgraded at certain locations where train derailments are often reported.

“The Prime Minister and I are making every effort to convert the Kelani Valley railway line from Avissawella to Colombo into an electric railway system”, the Minister added.

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