The first train operated from Beliatta to Matara this morning on the newly constructed Matara – Beliatta line with the participation of Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Arjuna Ranathunga.
A large crowd lined up by the railway line and at the Wevurukannal Railway Station, which was the first half of the journey, to watch the maiden trip. The train that reached Wevurukannala Railway Station at 10.15am received with great ovation from the people.
Meanwhile, a group of individuals creating a tense atmosphere, hung a banner in the train carrying the picture of former President Mahinda Rajapakse by force when the train was about to leave the Beliatta Railway Station.
However, the train started after removing the poster. In a similar incident, the relatives of a worker of the Matara – Beliatta railway line project who died in an accident, obstructed the railway line demanding compensation for the deceased.
They allowed the train to proceed after Minister Ranathunga, who met them promised to look into the issue and do justice. (S. Galappatthi and Krishan Jeewaka Jayaruk)
Pix by Krishan Jeewaka Jayaruk