Public suggestions invited to refine draft national transport policy

Minister Mahinda Amaraweera speaks at the conference. Picture by Ruwan De Silva

Passenger Transport Management, Power and Energy Minister Mahinda Amaraweera yesterday urged individuals and organisations to highlight any shortcomings that may still exist in the draft policy of national transport in order to refine and improve the policy.

The Minster said the draft national policy on transport has been formulated by the Transport Ministry with the participation of stakeholders concerned and it will be forwarded for the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers before it is submitted to Parliament.

The Minister was addressing the gathering at the first conference on the topic of Sustainable Mobility, Traffic and Public Transport Solutions and Logistics organised by the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Sri Lanka (AHK Sri Lanka) at Hilton Colombo Residences yesterday.

The conference is part of the Foreign Market Entry Programme initiated by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). The main objective of the conference is to explore Sri Lankan-German business cooperation in the field of sustainable mobility.

The Minister further said Sri Lanka appreciates the serious interest shown by the world market leaders in the modernisation and the development of the transport sector of Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan government welcomes the foreign and local investments mainly in areas such as bus fleet development, modernisation of the railway network and the infrastructure development measures, measures on increasing energy efficiency, and the better use of ICT technology in transport operations.

This conference will lead to serious and useful discussions on Sri Lanka’s national transport issues while providing opportunities to identity the practical solutions to the problems prevailing in the sector. Transport is an important sector in our country making very significant impacts on the day-to-day lives of the people. Road transport is the dominant transport mode in the country and it caters to around 93 percent of passenger transport demands as well as 97 percent of demand for transportation of goods. The sector also accounts for 10 percent of the country’s GDP and around six percent of employment.

As promised in President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s election manifesto, the government has given high priority for the development of an islanwide transport network and to provide efficient and environmentally friendly service to the public. The Transport Ministry has been given the responsibility for the management of transport services, making it possible to take speedy action to fulfill the promises given in the manifesto.

Several studies conducted in recent times in the areas of passenger transport have identified some of the main issues faced by the sector. Among them are heavy traffic congestion especially in urban areas mainly due to the poor traffic management, increasing use of private vehicles, undisciplined drivers, inefficient enforcement of rules regulations and outdated fleet of vehicles.

He said it is necessary to promote public transport modes as it is a great solution to many problems. Urgent attention should be paid to reduce the increase of fatal accidents as it has been revealed that around d seven persons die daily from road accidents. Improving inter-modal links among the all kinds of transport modes and setting up proper method to discard non-roadworthy vehicles and vehicles with outdated technology should be implemented.

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