The Sri Lankan government has revoked the suspension imposed on the import of Indian locomotives and rolling stock after India addressed the concerns raised by Sri Lanka.

A locomotive on the Galle – Matara section stopped on its tracks on March 11, following an electrical short circuit leading to the Sri Lankan Ministry of Transport writing a strongly worded letter to RITES, suspending the contract for carrying out the remaining part of the work.

The locomotive had stopped as the result of an electrical short circuit and resumed its journey in 20 minutes after this fault was set right. Apart from routine delays, there has been no other problem in the operation of the Diesel Electrical Multiple Units in the Galle – Matara section.

In his letter to RITES about two weeks ago, the Sri Lankan Transport Secretary had said that the import of 17 DEMUs was being suspended until ongoing investigations into the quality of the locomotives was ascertained. Transport Minister Kumar Welgama was quoted in the Daily Mirror as saying that Sri Lanka could not waste public money on spurious imports.

Indian officials here explained that following this, a team from RITES had arrived last week and carried out a thorough study of the problem. They had concluded that the tinkering of the DEMUs, and adding coaches more than its hauling capacity were among the reasons for the snapping of electrical supply in one part of the engine. The team was of the opinion that such additions or tinkering had to be extensively tested because the railways could not take commuters for granted. Having learnt from the Indian experience where commuters vent ire in the event of delays, the RITES team shared its experience with the Sri Lankan team.

The RITES team had also assured the Sri Lankan side of continued service support. The DEMUs, manufactured in the Integral Coach Factory, Perambur, near Chennai, have been introduced in many commuter-intensive non-electrified Divisions of the Indian Railways and have largely been fault-free.

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