Chevron Lubricants renovates Kandy railway station
Chevron Lubricants last week undertook the renovation of the Kandy
railway station as the first private sector initiative to develop the
railway transport system in the country.
Managing Director Chevron Kishu Gomes exchanges the agreement
with Secretary, Ministry of Transport Nihal Somaweera. Transport
Minister Dullas Alahapperuma, Governor, Central Province Tikiri
Kobbekaduwa and SLR GM Dr Lalithasiri Gunanruwan look on. Pic:
The government has decided to get private sector investment to
improve the train service in the country that has now hit rock bottom
and running with government subsidies.
However, Chevron's initiative is a CSR project of the company and the
company will renovate the Kandy and Matara railway stations. The Kandy
railway station modernisation project will cost Rs. 7 million.
Transport Minister Dullas Alahaperuma told the signing ceremony that
the government has taken a policy decision to get private investment to
develop the train service without privatising the Railway.
"We are planning to develop 12 railway stations from Colombo to
Lunawa with private sector collaboration, local or foreign. We have got
several proposals to develop the Bambalapitiya railway station and one
investor has proposed to construct a 36 storey building.
The 1.5 acre land at the station is worth billions of rupees. The CGR
will invest on the land and the construction work would be carried out
by the private investor. Modern railway stations will be set up in the
basement of the buildings and the upper floors of the buildings will be
used for supermarkets, apartments, car parks and other commercial
The railway development plan was presented last year by the Strategic
Enterprises Management Agency (SEMA) as an alternative to the
privatisation of the loss-making Railway.
The Minister said that there was a loophole in the first cabinet
paper passed earlier and it enabled Ministers to sell railway properties
at any time. However, after the GM CGR, Dr. Lalithasiri Gunaruwan
pointed it out the whole cabinet paper was corrected.
The Minister said that the railway system will be improved to give a
quality service to the commuters within the next two years. The CGR has
received funds to purchase new locomotives, carriages, renovation and
development of tracks and the signal system.
Dr. Gunaruwan said that the CGR has gone a long way under difficult
conditions over the past 140 years. Today, even under difficult
conditions it provides a great service to the people and the country's
economy but nobody recognises it. The CGR was abandoned by all
successive governments and it received only one-fifth of the financial
assistance it received in the 1960s.
"Now that era has gone and this year we received a huge financial
package to develop the train service.
The government has a vision and we will invest on infrastructure and
HR development", he said.
Dr. Gunaruwan called upon other private sector companies to emulate
Chevron and develop the railway stations in the country. If we can save
that money we can use the funds for infrastructure development, he said.
The Managing Director of Chevron, Kishu Gomes said that this was an
important CSR program of his company because it contributes to develop
the holy city Kandy, where the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha is
placed. Chevron is a socially responsible company and we undertake many
CSR programs to help various segments of the society, he said.
The company has already started construction work on the Kandy
Railway station project but bureaucratic bottlenecks have delayed
progress. The floor tiles of the toilets have been removed. Replacements
have been delayed because they are awaiting a particular colour of the
floor tile from the railway engineers.
The renovation includes construction work on the drainage system,
floor of the platforms, roof, toilets and other facilities for
commuters. Gomes said that the Kandy railway station would be pleasant
and attractive for commuters after the project is completed.