(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – Under the project of adding 500 new buses to the operation by the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) in order to strengthen the public transport facilities in the rural roads of the country, the Minister of Transport, Highways and Mass Media Dr. Bandula Gunawardena Sunday distributed new buses for the use on the rural roads of Hambantota district.
Ten buses worth 115 million rupees obtained under the Indian assistance were distributed to Tangalle, Ambalantota and Kataragama depots in Hambantota district.
The Government of India has provided 500 buses to Sri Lanka in parallel to the 75th Independence Day celebration to uplift the public transport service in rural areas across the country.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Minister said when he took over as the Minister in charge of Transport, many government corporations, statutory boards and the SLTB were gasping for breath.
“The main reason for this was that the depot was not generating enough income to sustain itself. Most of the depots are unprofitable. In addition to the lack of parts needed to repair the buses, around 8000 buses have been stopped in the depot. Many depots do not have enough income to pay the salaries of the workers. The main reason for that is that a very small part of the employees are involved in various fraud and corruption irregularities in an organized manner. If the entire income earned is properly received by the company, no depot in Sri Lanka will suffer a loss.”
“Digitalization is the most scientific solution to prevent fraud, corruption and malpractice in government institutions. For that purpose, we are working to introduce the QR system to issue tickets for SLTB buses as soon as possible. In the next two months, all the public transport sectors in Sri Lanka will be converted into ticket issuing agencies using the QR system. Then every depot can make profit. There is a program in the government mechanism to prevent those who try to make a change.”
“Even though the e-motoring project of the Department of Motor Vehicles has been tried to be implemented since 2017, no chance was given to it. I will take steps to make the e-motoring project a practical reality in the next three months in the Motor Transport Commissioner Department, no matter who opposes it.”
Minister of State for Electricity D.V. Chanaka, Deputy Speaker Ajith Rajapaksa, Member of Parliament Chamal Rajapaksa, Member of Parliament Namal Rajapaksa, Chairman of Southern Provincial Council Somawansa Kodagoda, Chairman of Ceylon Transport Board Lalith De Alwis, Chairman of Ceylon Fishery Corporation DV Upul and other officials were present at the occasion