against scrapping of Railway Authority
By Santhush Fernando
The United National Party will not support the Freedom Alliance
Government's attempt to scrap the nominally existing Railway Authority.
Former Deputy Finance Minister Bandula Gunawardena told The Sunday
Times that the UNP would not be supporting the Government's Bill
to abolish the Railway Authority, as privatisation was a policy
of the party.
Gunawardena further told that as it was the practice of developed
countries to transform Departments into Corporations and Authorities,
the Railway Authority was set up during the UNF regime, in line
with this practice.
took its first step last Wednesday in the abolition of the Railway
Authority by approving the presentation of a Bill to repeal the
Railway Authority Act, fulfilling one of the pledges it promised
at the last General Election .
Minister Felix Perera told The Sunday Times that he does not believe
that the Opposition would object to the abolition. He said that
as the United National Party too had delayed in setting up the Authority
due to the outcry of the Railway unions, he believed, in principle,
the UNP would not vote against the Bill to repeal the Authority.
Perera said that he is trying to resuscitate the Railway Department
by implementing a short-term action plan similar to the one that
is already implemented with regard to bus transport.
of the All Ceylon Railway Workers' General Employees Union Sumathipala
Manawadu told The Sunday Times that although trade unions had earlier
threatened to engage in a strike if the Authority was not abolished,
it would not expect the Government to pass the Bill in Parliament
until it is in a position to do so.
Government placed the Railways under the Strategic Enterprises Management
Agency (SEMA) with a view to ensuring effective management of strategic
public sector enterprises.