Constitutional coup caused considerable loss to SLTB - Deputy Minister | Daily News

Constitutional coup caused considerable loss to SLTB - Deputy Minister

The 50-day Constitutional coup while causing a considerable loss to the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) also disrupted its management process, Transportation and Civil Aviation Deputy Minister Ashoka Abeysinghe yesterday said.

According to the Deputy Minister,the incurred a loss of 20%-30% during the said crisis period.

The temporary management that took over the SLTB during the constitutional crisis period has given around 1000 new appointments to the SLTB and has allocated SLTB buses to political parties without any charge,” Abeysinghe said. He said legal action will be taken against these appointments.

Abeysinghe said that the loss incurred by the SLTB will soon be revealed after the inquiry in to the activities that took place during this crisis period.

“When the political crisis began, all the workers at all the depots were chased out immediately. Even the wife of an MP from the Kurunegala District interfered in appointing new management at certain depots. They chased away the rightful Depot Supervisor and instead appointed a bus conductor to that position,” the Deputy Minister alleged.

Abeysinghe observed that former SLTB Chairman and the previous Board of Directors have not submitted any annual report of the SLTB during the period from 2005 to 2010.

He pointed out that they have gone to the Bribery Commission with a bundle of receipts for purchasing equipment from abroad issued under the SLTB’s name that mention specific commissions given to high ranking SLTB officers, including the minister for certain financial transactions.

“The SLTB has recorded a profit of Rs.161 million by 2017 end. All the depots are recording profits now. When the present government took over the SLTB in 2015, it was to service a debt of Rs.250 million. This obligation included EPF/ETF payments, bonuses and other payments for maintenance requirements. We have now serviced almost all these debts and have turned the SLTB into a profit making establishment. We are now paying the salaries on time and were able to give a bonus of Rs.13,000 for all the workers as well,” Abeysinghe pointed out.

Asked about the recent incident where the test-run of the Matara-Beliatta railway road was disrupted by Rajapaksa supporters, the Deputy Minister observed that it was a misunderstanding. He pointed out that former President Ranasinghe Premadasa commenced the project in 1990 as he wanted to build a railway track leading to Kataragama.

“Then in 2013, Mahinda Rajapaksa restarted this project with funding from the Chinese government. He wanted the railway track to pass his hometown. That’s how the railway track ended up going via Beliatta. It saddens me to see that some people are still suffering from the Maharaja-psychosis,” he pointed out.


NCRS to be upgraded

Deputy Transportation and Civil Aviation Minister Ashoka Abeysinghe said the National Council for Road Safety (NCRS) will be upgraded as the National Transportation Safety Commission during this year.

The respective proposal shall be presented to Parliament in March 2019.

Abeysinghe said the National Transportation Safety Commission will harness more power that the NCRS.

Deputy Minister Abeysinghe urged the public to inform the responsible parties via given hotline if such revised bus fares are not charged and private bus operators are still charging the old fares.

In parallel to the recent decrease in fuel prices,the SLTB, Private, Luxury and highway bus fares were reduced by 4.2% in by December 2018 end. 


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