No move to vest railway station management in other companies -
KOTTE: Transport Minister Dullas Alahapperuma yesterday assured the
House that the Transport Ministry has not taken any decision to vest the
management of railway stations in any local or foreign company.
The Minister responding to a question by JVP Parliamentarian Wimal
Weerawansa, said the Ministry has no intention whatsoever to hand over
railway station management to the IOC or any other foreign company.
Alahapperuma said amidst the present financial crisis faced by the
Railway Department, an open invitation was made to local businessmen to
support the renovation of railway stations. "Responding to our
invitation Caltex has already come forward to renovate the Kandy railway
station. In addition, the Ministry has discussed with several banks and
companies to renovate these railway stations," he said.
"Following our discussions, the Commercial Bank has pledged to
renovate the Galle railway station while Laugfs Company has agreed to
renovate several railway stations countrywide."
According to the Minister, the Ministry will provide the opportunity
to the relevant company which has renovated that particular railway
station to display their advertisement at that railway station.
"Therefore any property belonging to the Railway Department or any
right of the railway employees will not be vested into these companies."
After completing the renovation of a railway station, that particular
company will also maintain that railway station for three years,
The Minister said there are 330 railway stations throughout the
country. "But these railway stations have not been properly maintained
or renovated over the past several years due to the lack of resources at
the Railway Department." Having considered this, the Ministry requested
businessmen and companies in the country to support ministry attempts to
renovate these railway stations, he said. Alahapperuma also noted that
under the Railway Act, a land belonging to the Railway Department can be
leased to a maximum of five years.
"But the former UNP Government had leased out such lands to 25 to 50
years by violating the Railway Act. As a result, the Railway Department
has lost nearly 2,500 acres of lands belonging to it," he added.