Plans to expand rail services funded by ADB

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Expansion of rail services in Colombo and several other major cities has already begun under the projects funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), says Arjuna Ranatunga, Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation.

Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said that transport services will be modernized with the assistance of the private sector to provide a more efficient service to the passengers.

Addressing a press conference held at the Governemnt Information Department yesterday, August 6, Minister Ranatunga said many railway lines will be expanded for the operation of electric trains

Increasing the number of railway lines to Colombo and suburbs is one such step and electric train services are to be introduced.

Speaking of the aviation services, the Minister said the a terminal will be constructed to increase the capacity of the Katunayake international airport, which handles 60,000 people now, to accommodate 30,000 more passengers.

Meanwhile, the Palaly airport is also being developed and the Government has also paid attention to the development of Batticaloa, Ratmalana and other airports.

Another objective of the Ministry is to add buses exclusively made for passenger transport to common public transport services. Nine modern buses have already been added to the public bus fleet. Another 35 buses are due to be added in the next few months.

Speaking further, Minister Arjuna Ranatunga stated that many problems have arisen by not developing the transport sector in time and added that the trains and buses should be improved from year to year and not waiting for four-to five years to make improvements.

“Now we are stuck. We need to get 2000 buses to improve the bus service. We would not be facing such problems if buses, trains are continuously maintained and upgraded. The government has no money for that. That is why we have to negotiate with investors on get things done to provide the services to the public,” Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said.