Sri Lanka will manufacture 100 railway passenger coaches locally with private sector participation to meet existing demands, the Government Department of Information (GDI) said.
Prevailing needs require some 700 coaches, with the government expecting to increase the number to about 800 over the next five years, the DGI said.
The cabinet of ministers has approved a proposal by Transport Minister, Gamini Lokuge to select an investor in compliance with the government procurement guidelines to manufacture the 100 coaches locally.
The existing railway passenger coaches are of different ages, with 30 per cent of them over 30 years old. Sixty per cent are 25-30 years old and 10 per cent have been in service for 12 years or less, the cabinet statement said.
India has promised 160 coaches and the government also expects to renovate a further 140 coaches that are currently out of order. But these, the statement said, will meet only 42 per cent of the demand.
Therefore, 50 per cent of the total railway passenger coach requirement should be provided expeditiously with the use or replacement of new railway passenger coaches, the cabinet had decided.