The “Yaldevi” which terminated its service 24 years ago in consequence of the 30 year long ruthless terrorism, recommenced its journey to Jaffna on 13.10.2014 connecting the ‘coconut grove’ in the South with ‘palmyrah orchard’in the North while extending the friendship of the South to restore the life in the North.
This historical event was attended by Sri Lankan President His Excellency MahindaRajapaksa, Minister of Transport Hon Kumara Welgama and a large gathering.
Sri Lankan President His Excellency MahindaRajapaksa, officially declared open the newly constructed railway track and the signaling system between Pallai-Jaffna and also newly constructed railway stations at Kodikamam, Chavakachcheri, Nawakkuli and Jaffna.
The Northern railway line was constructed by IRCON Company under the Indian Line of Credit.
Having understood the urgent need for solving urban transport problems in and around Colombo, Ministry of Transport has taken steps to develop implementation programs for the projects proposed in the CoMTrans study concluded by Urban Transport Development Project for Colombo Metropolitan Region under the JICA Technical Assistance. The Ministry has engaged with University of Moratuwa for developing implementation plan for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System, as the solution for Galle road.
At the outset of this program, a special workshop for the implementing agencies was held during 31st July & 1st August 2014 at Mt. Lavinia Hotel and this two days event consisted of one day for three lecture series and field session covering four sections of Galle road and one day for a feedback, discussion on implementation and to wrap up and propose recommendations and adoption of report on work shop.
Officially inaugurating the workshop, Mr. J. M. Thilalakarathna Banda, Additional Secretary - Planning, Ministry of Transport, highlighted the purpose of the work shop and the prevailing situation and welcomed the opportunity.
Prof.Amal S. Kumarage, University of Moratuwa and Prof. H. M. Shivanand Swamy, Center for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT), India elaborated this fruitful event with their valuable knowledge.
A felicitation ceremony to award gifts and certificates to the drivers operating the luxury buses that were imported by the Hon. Minister of Transport from People’s Republic of China for the CHOGM 2013 and later given to the SLTB, in appreciation outstanding performance of those who have rendered a dedicated service was held at Park and Ride ground in Katubedda on 12-08-2014 under the patronage of Mr. ShashiWelgama, the Chairman of the SLTB.
Addressing the gathering the Hon. Minister mentioned that 86 out of total of 106 SLTB Depots are currently functioning smoothly and managing to pay emoluments to the employees. Hon. Minister also said that 2000 more luxury buses are to be added to the fleet in near future to operate along the main corridors leading to the Colombo city.
The Study Report on Colombo Urban Transport Master Plan which was commenced in 2012 by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) with the collaboration of the Ministry of Transport and several other related institutions was handed over to Hon. Kumara Welgama, Minister of Transport by Hon. Manabu Sakai, Parliamentary Minister of Transport in Japan on 19th August, 2014 at the Ministry of Transport in Sri Lanka.
This study was being conducted by the Ministry of Transport with the cooperation of JICA with the objective of resolving the urban mobility issues and preparing a Master Plan to develop a more efficient and comfortable mobility system releasing the acute traffic congestion Colombo city and suburbskeeping in line with the national development policy plan “MahindaCintana Way Forward”.
The Study Report has introduced projects that could be implemented on short term, medium term and long term basis to improve the urban mobility while widely reviewing the current scenario of the transportation system, development activities currently in progress in line with the Government’s long term development policy to enhance efficiency in passenger and goods transportation connecting Colombo city and other urbanized areas, and future mobility plans.
Hon. Kumara Welgama, Minister of Transport, receiving the Study Report mentioned that with the implementation of the proposed project the prevailing traffic congestion in the Colombo city will be eliminated soon.
Mr.DhammikaPerera, the Secretary to the Ministry of Transport, Ministry officials and representatives from JICA were also present at the occasion.