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SLTB tottering after latest diesel hike

By Don Asoka Wijewardena

Transport Minister Kumara Welagama yesterday said that the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLCTB) was in dire financial straits owing to the latest diesel price hike. The government last week increased the price of a litre of diesel by Rs. 8.

Minister Welgama said that the SLCTB’s fuel bill had gone up by Rs. 2.2 mn a day and the loss-making institution was not in a position to sustain such losses. Addressing the media at his ministry, Minister Welgama said that there wouldn’t be a fare revision immediately in spite of growing losses.

Responding to a query, Kalutara District MP said that the recent 4 per cent fare increase recommended by the government was not sufficient to meet the sharp increase in the daily fuel bill.

Minister Welgama said that the latest price hike had hit the SLTB badly at a time it was beginning to make progress. The bottomline was that the entire revival plan was now in jeopardy due to the increased fuel cost.

Asked whether the government would raise the train fares, Minister Welgama said that that both the SLTB and Railways would maintain services at the current fares in spite of heavy burden.

Meanwhile, private busmen scheduled a media briefing for Wednesday (Nov. 2) to pressure the government to review the bus fares structure. A spokesman for private bus operators told The Island that the losses suffered by them were far greater than the losses experienced by the SLTB. The official said that the SLTB operated approximately 5,300 buses daily, whereas the private fleet consists of 17,000 buses.

Posted on Wednesday, November 02, 2011 @ 09:52:59 LKT


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