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Indian engines no longer ‘spurious imports’

On March 14 Sri Lanka abruptly suspended acceptance of Indian-manufactured train power sets.

Each reportedly costs $3.5m, the engines are manufactured by Indian state-owned firm RITES Ltd.

The reason given by Sri Lanka for the suspension was that one of three already delivered had ‘stopped’ on a run on March 11 due to unspecified defects. An electrical short was later reported.

Minister of Transport Kumar Welgama told reporters that defects had been identified and reported to President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

“We have already initiated an investigation into the suitability of these Indian locomotives. We cannot waste public funds for spurious imports,” he declared. (The engines, by the way, are being paid for with an Indian credit line).

However last week engineers from RITES Ltd dispatched to examine the ‘defective’ power set found that it had been ‘tinkered’ with by Sri Lanka’s engineers – and was pulling more coaches than its haulage capacity.

Sri Lanka now says the suspension of the imports has been revoked.

Interestingly the suspension of Indian deliveries followed just after Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister was forced to retract his wild accusation in Parliament that LTTE was running training camps in India. The climb down came after Delhi’s strident objections.(see also this)

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