NTC Director General offers protection and fuel for buses operating from Bastian Mawatha, Pettah

- island.lk

By Rathindra Kuruwita

Long-distance private buses, operating from Colombo, would be provided fuel from the Bastian Mawatha Private Bus Stand, National Transport Commission (NTC) Director General Nilan Miranda said yesterday.Following an inspection visit to the Bastian Mawatha Private Bus Stand, Miranda said that police had been deployed at the bus stand and buses operating from there would be given police protection.

“We have asked the IGP to provide security. Stern action will be taken against anyone who tries to obstruct buses that operate. We will also provide diesel to long distance buses that operate from the Bastian Mawatha Private Bus Stand itself. I urge bus owners not to strike,” he said.

Several bus owners’ associations decided to launch a strike after the NTC decided that the bus fare must be reduced by 11.14% following the reduction of fuel prices. Diesel has been reduced by 30 rupees in the past month and buses enjoy a price hike which was given during COVID-19 when the number of passengers had to be limited to the number of seats in a bus with no standing commuters, Miranda said.Lanka Private Bus Owners Association (LPBOA) President Gemunu Wijerathne said that only about 1000 to 1500 private buses operated yesterday (05). This is mainly due to the diesel shortage. About 10,000 buses have been unable to secure fuel, he said.

Inter-Provincial Private Bus Association (IPPBA), President Sarath Vijitha Kumara insisted that it was unfair for the NTC to reduce fares by 11%.

“Diesel prices dropped by 10 rupees only. Take back this order and give us full tanks of fuel. Then we will operate,” he said.

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