50 SLTB Luxury buses back on the roads in 6 months – Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardhana
Transport, Highways and Mass Media Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardhana said that, 50 luxury buses withdrawn from service, causing a loss of Rs 5 million rupees per day for the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB), will be put back into service within six months.
The Minister said this after visiting the SLTB’s Katubedda High Luxury Travel Transport Service bus yard.
The Minister saw more than 50 buses parked in this yard which are currently not in service due to various technical defects and lack of spareparts.
The Minister appointed Engineer Kushan Wegodapola as a consultant to repair and restore these buses speedily and return them into service at the earliest.
The Minister addressing those present said, “Ten years ago, the Government brought these buses to Sri Lanka to provide transport facilities for the Commonwealth Conference held in Sri Lanka, and later handed over to the SLTB. The guaranteed period of those buses is 8 years. Now these buses are more than 10 years old.
More than 50 of these buses parked at the Katubedda yard, can earn a net profit of more than Rs 100,000 per day”.
“They were not repaired. The SLTB Chairman made a special effort to put them back into service. The SLTB loses Rs 5 million a day due to this. After a special study to put these 50 buses back into service in six months, Engineer Kushan Wegodapola, former president of Lakdiva Engineering Co., highly qualified and experienced Automobile Engineer from Canada was appointed as a Consultant to the SLTB Luxury Travel Unit for this purpose”.
“He has been entrusted with the responsibility of getting these valuable buses running again in the next six months, while negotiating with the Chinese companies that manufactured these buses for necessary instructions”.
“This step was taken in accordance with the powers assigned to me under the Transport Board Act, as the Minister in charge of the subject, in order to prevent such a large national damage.”
Engineer Kushan Wegodapola said, “There are more than 50 buses in this place that can earn a lot of profit for the SLTB. Being exposed to the elements, they are a waste. As per the instructions of the Minister, we will make the necessary arrangements to restore these buses to running condition as soon as possible”.
SLTB Chairman Lalith de Alwis said, “After the Commonwealth Conference, the then Government handed over 69 buses to the SLTB. One of these buses was taken out of service due to an accident. When I took over as Chairman, only 37 buses were in running condition. We tried to get the SLTB technicians to repair these buses, but couldn’t because these buses required special engineering knowledge. After informing the Minister about this, he arranged to appoint a consultant with expertise related to the subject. Through that consultancy, I believe that, within the next six months, we will be able to put these buses back into service.”
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