Railway suspends fuel transportation from Kolonnawa due to COVID spread: SLSMU

The Railway Department suspended fuel transportation from Kolonnawa Oil Depot from yesterday due to COVID-19 spread, the Sri Lanka Railway Station Masters' Union (SLSMU) said.

SLSMU Chief Secretary Kasun Chamara told the Daily Mirror that the decision was taken after seven employees at the Kolonnawa Oil storage tested COVID positive.

"Last Friday (14), a Station Master (SM) of the Kolonnawa Oil Depot was tested positive and following PCR tests conducted on other staffers at the Depot, another two were found contracted with the virus.

The health authorities advised the 18 staff members to undergo self-quarantine. Later, another team was assigned to the Depot to continue the service by the Railways Department, two shunter drivers were tested COVID-19 positive," Chamara said Altogether, seven staffers assigned to the Depot were found infected, he said.

Therefore, the Department finally decided to suspend fuel transport service from yesterday due to lack of manpower at the Depot, he said.

"Accordingly, no fuel will be taken to Katunayake airport and if this situation continues, there would be an issue when supplying gasoline for aircraft and also no fuel transport to Galle, Anuradhapura, Batticaloa or to Peradeniya," Chamara said.

If the situation is not rectified in the near future, the transport sector too would collapse and there could be a fuel shortage in the country, if fuel distribution is not streamlined, Chamara cautioned. 

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