By Indika Sri Aravinda
Transport Minister Gamini Lokuge has instructed the Railway Engineering Department to submit a report on faulty Chinese train compartments in Sri Lanka.
Minister Lokuge instructed the Railway Engineering Department to inquire and submit a report as a number of complaints were filed by train engine drivers in this regard in the recent past.
The Train Engine Drivers Union pointed out that nearly 200 mishaps had been reported in the recent past due to faulty brakes on Chinese train compartments.
Secretary of the Railway Engine Drivers Association, Indika Dodangoda said drivers were unable to stop the train exactly near the train station platform or at the given time, and were unable to prevent train derailments or accidents due to the faulty brakes on the Chinese train compartments.
As a result, train engine drivers had recently withdrawn from operating trains with faulty Chinese compartments.
However, the engine drivers had called off their strike action as the disciplinary committee had decided to refrain from taking action against them after the report by the technical committee had affirmed that the mistakes were not due to the negligence of engine drivers.
Meanwhile, the Department of Railways has decided to call for tenders to replace the brakes in 100 faulty Chinese train compartments which were imported in 2008.
General Manager of Railways Dilantha Fernando told Colombo Gazette the Chinese train compartments are using disk-brakes.
He said that Sri Lankan trains do not use disk-brakes and that resulted in serious concerns being raised by engine drivers recently.
The replacement of brakes for the train compartments will take a period of nearly 2 years, and the Government intends to call for tenders from other foreign countries and not China, Fernando further said.
He added that a main issue at hand is the lack of funds at the Department of Railways to replace the brakes. (Colombo Gazette)