Attempt to hand over railway projects to foreigners: TUs threaten action

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

Railway unions are up in arms against the Government’s attempt to hand over several projects to foreign companies.

Locomotive Operating Engineers’ Union (LOEU) President Indika Dodangoda told The Morning that attempts are being made to hand over the railway ticketing project to China while the communications project is to be handed over to another private company.

He said: “The railways can handle ticketing projects together with the support of the University of Moratuwa while the communications project can be handled by the experts of the Department of Railways.”

According to Dodangoda, handing over such projects to foreign companies is a waste of public money.

Further, he stressed that foreign involvement in railway communication would put the entire railway sector at risk as they could take control of railway traffic.

The communications project is to be handed over to a private company at a cost of $ 7.5 million, while it could be done by the Department of Railways at a cost of around Rs. 75 million, according to Dodangoda.

Furthermore, he predicted that the ticketing project, which is to be handed over to China, could be handled by local experts at a cost less than 15 times of what it costs to be done by China.

The unions urged the Government to immediately stop the handing over of projects to foreign companies and to instead get the support of local experts.