By Yohan Perera
The Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) had suffered a loss of Rs 40 million on May Day alone by providing buses to UPFA rally, the JVP charged yesterday.“These buses had been given on hire on a lesser rate than the usual fee of Rs 65 per kilometre. Malpractices such as these had made SLTB a loss making entity,” JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva told a news conference yesterday.
He charged that there were no funds in some depots to pay salaries to the employees.
Coming up with another staggering disclosure, the JVP General Secretary said the Colombo Jaffna route permits were being sold for Rs 400,000 to government henchmen who did not own route permits.
He said those who have purchased these permits have resold them for Rs 1.1 million. Mr. Silva also accepted the fact that some conductors and drivers of private buses were also engaged in frauds.
He therefore accepted that 35 percent of day’s proceedings of private bus owners were going into the pockets of the drivers and conductors. He said there were also instances where private bus owners and SLTB drivers and conductors connived and allowed the private buses to load passengers. He said it was the government that should intervene to stop these frauds.
Mr. Silva also explained that de-politicization of the transport sector would be a better move to turn SLTB into a profit making institution than increasing bus fares. He made this point by stating that CTB bus fares would also be increased following the bus fare hike for the private buses.
He also criticized the previous regimes as well, recalling that the move made by the then government in 1978 to introduce private buses had not provided the expected results.
By Yohan Perera