Railway union blames death of commuter on the Railway Dept.

Dept. accused of wasteful expenditure

by Dasun Edirisinghe

Pro–JVP railway trade union yesterday accused the Railway Department of being responsible for the death of a passenger at the Weyangoda station, where the commuter fell to his death from a dilapidated footboard of the No. 85 Rajarata Menike train on Saturday.

The train which started from the Fort Railway Station had reached the Weyangoda station around 3. 06pm when the incident happened.

General Secretary of the All Ceylon Railway Employees General Union Sumathipala Manawadu told The Island that 24 – year – old Sameera Prasad had fallen from the footboard due its dilapidated state.

"According to our sources, that train’s footboard was thereafter repaired at the Mahawa station without informing the incident to officers in Mahawa," he alleged.

Manawadu said that railway authorities were not buying necessary spare parts to maintain trains, but spending department’s money for unnecessary activities.

Department employees had been advised to repair trains with the parts of abandoned trains, he said, adding that the department had spent Rs. 400 million for the recently concluded ‘Deyata Kirula’ exhibition’s railway stall in Maha Vilachchiya.

According to Manawadu, the department had constructed three temporary mini railway stations within the ‘Deyata Kirula’ exhibition site at a cost of Rs. 3 million. The department paid another 3 million rupees to a private transport company to transport the mini railway compartments and engine to the venue.

They wasted 2375 sleepers on the temporary mini rail track and it cost Rs. 1.9 million rupees and deployed railway employees for three months on ‘Deyata Kirupa’ project.

"How can the department repair running rail engines and compartments while wasting money and time in such a manner," Manawadu said.

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