(UDHAYAM, COLOMBO) – Main obstacle to the development of the Kelani valley rail road is the illegal dwellers beside the rail road, said the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Nimal Siripala De Silva.
There are several bends on this rail road and these bends also cannot be straightened due to the illegal dwellers, he said.
Minister made these remarks yesterday participating in an observation visit on the Kelani valley railway line.
He said that these dwellers should be treated humanely. Therefore, they should be settled in alternate residences and his ministry together with Megapolis Ministry is making a huge plan.
Minister said that they have taken steps to develop the railway stations along the Kelani valley line and to convert the single line from Colombo Fort to Padukka a double line. As well, this line will be developed with world class sleepers to provide a more effective train service by the end of this year, he added. The normal train fare is 60 percent less than the bus fare and it has not been increased for eight years. These measures will attract more and more passengers with the train service from Awissawella to Colombo. Support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will also be received for the developments of the rail road.
Under the present government’s initiative, 11 railway stations are being developed and the Railway Department had spent Rs. 300 million to apply new concrete sleepers to the rail road.