Army personnel deployed to provide security to Fort, Maradana railway stations in Sri Lanka

Fort Railway Station

Sri Lanka Army personnel have been deployed to provide security to the Colombo Fort and Maradana railway stations, says the Department of Railways.

The department added that it stands ready to deploy security forces to other railway stations as well if the need arises.

The decision was taken after taking into account a request made by the station masters and locomotive operating engineers who are on duty amidst the ongoing strike action.

The Locomotive Operating Engineers’ Union had launched the strike from midnight on Monday (11) over several demands, including amendments to the recruitment process and promotions, which they say have been delayed for nearly five years.

This had resulted in the cancellation of more than a hundred train services, while commuters were gravely affected by the railway strike leading to several tense situations at some railway stations yesterday.

As multiple trains were cancelled, the trains that were in operation were crammed with passengers. Many commuters were seen train surfing due to overcrowding.

A tense situation was reported at the Maradana railway station yesterday as commuters were left infuriated by the railway strike after a youth fell to death from the roof of an overcrowded train near the station.

Meanwhile, President Ranil Wickremesinghe issued a gazette notification yesterday declaring the public transport services for passengers or goods and the provision and maintenance of facilities for transport services by railway lines as essential services with immediate effect under the Essential Public Service Act.

However, at least 50 trains, including Colombo-bound night mail trains, were in operation this morning despite the trade union action.

Deputy General Manager of Railways, M.J. Indipolage said the authorities are hopeful that the locomotive operating engineers would call off their strike today. “We haven’t been informed how long they plan to continue the strike. But we hope they will call it off today and return to duties.”



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