By Sandun A. Jayasekera
Commuter Transport Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera has appointed a three-member committee led by the Deputy General Manager of Railways (DGMR) to look into the circumstances that led to the idling of ten locomotive engines at the Maligawatta railway yard imported from India at a cost of Rs.1,100 million.
During a discussion the minister had with trade union representatives and General Manager of Railways D. Fernando over the weekend, it was revealed that the locomotive engines were not suitable to run on Sri Lankan railroads.
“The maximum weight of a locomotive engine that runs on our railway lines is 80 metric tonnes, but these Indian engines weigh about 120 metric tonnes. Besides, they are longer than the locomotive engines run on our railroads. Two engines derailed and toppled during a test run and the railway line was also damaged heavily,” a spokesman of the Commuter Transport Management Ministry said.
Surprisingly, a former GMR and team of locomotive engineers had visited India before placing the order for locomotive engines but found they were not suitable for our railway lines only after the engines had been delivered. The minister instructed the tree-member committee to submit a report in two weeks on the matter. He pledged maximum possible disciplinary action against those who made the blunder to import unsuitable locomotive engines.
Other members of the committee are the chief engineer and engineer (road) of Sri Lanka Railways.
Two engines derailed and toppled during a test run and the railway line was also damaged heavily