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DateLine Sunday, 23 March 2008

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Worldwide tenders to buy 15 locomotives

The Ministry of Transport has called for worldwide tenders to purchase 15 locomotives to improve the railway service upcountry, said Secretary to the Ministry Nihal Somaweera.

The Railway Department operates around 50 locomotives and there is a shortage of 15. With the new engines a better service could be provided to major destinations in the country", he said.

The Transport Ministry has been promising a better service for a long time but commuters continue to face enormous difficulties with a poorly managed transportation system with inadequate facilities.

The Secretary said that Rs. 3 billion has been allocated to purchase the locomotives from companies that are well known for manufacturing engines. Over 20 companies have accepted the documents and would make known their terms shortly. The closing date for bidding is May 9.

Meanwhile, the Transport Ministry will renovate the Pettah Central Bus Stand with more facilities before the Sinhala and Tamil New Year.

The Ministry has taken steps to remove all unauthorised constructions around the Pettah Central Bus Stand and provide space for a few shops within the building. "Sanitary facilities, cleaning of garbage and security in the area will be improved", Somaweera said.

He said the next bus fare revision will be in July according to the National Transport Commission regulations where fares are revised annually.

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