hobbling along on taxpayers' money
By Nilika Kasturisinghe
With privatization attempts stalled and the CTB running at a loss,
the taxpayers' money is being spent to run the bus service on a
day-to-day basis to tide over losses incurred by an inefficient
programme which lacked contingency plans.
Public-Private Partnership for the bus sector was mooted by the
Public Enterprise Reforms Commission (PERC) in June last year.
However, the programme which ran into much opposition is temporarily
at a halt with a case having been filed by two CTB employees calling
for a halt to the sale of shares.
The case is
to be taken up for hearing on July 11.PERC Chairman Chrisantha Perera
responding to The Sunday Times said "shares haven't been transferred,
management hasn't been handed over". The
13 cluster bus companies are independently run by separate boards
and employees while the Sri Lanka Central Transport Board acts as
an authority, he said.
CTB is reported to be facing difficult circumstances with severe
financial constraints, and several payments from state bodies also
very slow to come in.
the increase in diesel costs the loss faced by the CTB each month
is Rs. 25 million on diesel," CTB chairman U. L. M. Farook
said. "It is like tying a man's arms and legs, gagging his
mouth and nose and throwing him into the sea, asking him to swim,"
provides the CTB with Rs. 120 million each month, of which Rs. 63
million is spent on paying salaries and Rs. 57 million on EPF. None
of this money can be utilized to maintain the buses.
killings in the east
By Chris Kamalendran
Suspected Tamil rebels yesterday shot dead a rival EPDP member in
Trincomalee hours after a member of another rival group of the LTTE
was killed along with his baby daughter in the Batticaloa area.
was shot dead in the heart of Trincomalee town while he was at his
brother's restaurant last morning. This incident came less than
nine hours after a father and daughter were killed in a grenade
attack in Batticaloa on Friday night.
The man working
with the TELO "Varathan' wing and his two-year-old daughter
were killed soon after they returned from a festival in a Temple
in the Ariyampathy area. The man identified as Sinniah Samuel was
working as an army informant.
In another incident last night, a Kovil trustee and another man
were injured in a grenade attack in Trincomalee town, reports said.
a Tamil youth who was closely working with the security forces in
Jaffna during the mid '90s was stabbed to death in his Colombo communication
centre. He was identified as Dharmalingam Gunapalan of Thunkkai,
He was used
as a 'masked man' to nod his head when Tamil suspects were paraded
in front of him after being arrested in the north in the mid 1990s
soon after the army captured the Jaffna peninsula.
came a day after an EPRLF activist was shot dead in Trincomalee
town by suspected pistol gang members of the LTTE. The victim was
identified as S.Kirubairaja. He was a member of the EPRLF 'Varathar'
On Sunday night,
Kalirajah Ramanan (35), a former TELO member of the Batticaloa Municipal
Council was shot dead by gunmen in Batticaloa town. On dissolution
of the Council, he quit TELO and joined the EPDP. Later he left
EPDP and was functioning as a member of the EPRLF - Varatharajah
More than 30
rival political party members and army informants have been killed
after the government signed the ceasefire agreement with the LTTE.
Most of these killings have taken place within the past three months.
who attended on HIV child under scrutiny
who accidentally suffered a needle prick while taking a blood sample
from an HIV-infected child, fears she may possibly develop the virus,
hospital authorities revealed.
The nurse who
took a blood sample from a child-patient admitted to the Panadura
hospital with fever and cough was panic-stricken when she learnt
the STD (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) clinic in Colombo sent a
HIV positive report on the child's blood sample.
The nurse was
rushed to get an HIV test from the STD clinic, but the report proved
negative. However, the nurse has been asked to report to the clinic
periodically, Hospital Director Dr. Sarath Silva said.
threat to journalist under investigation
are conducting inquiries into a complaint made by journalist and
former chairman of Lake House Lucien Rajakarunanayake who has allegedly
been threatened by Minister Mahinda Wijesekara at a five star hotel
a week ago.
Police are yet
to record a statement from the minister with regard to the complaint
lodged at Colombo Police Headquarters on June 1. SSP D.P.L. Dissanayake
who is in charge of conducting the investigations said the police
were treating it as a normal threat and abuse case and investigations
told The Sunday Times that the police had asked him whether Minister
Wijesekara should be warned for his alleged threat. Mr. Rajakarunanayake
had said he had answered saying, " It is up to the police to
determine the course of action that should be pursued against the
minister and it is not my duty".
If a politician
is threatening a journalist for something he has written against
him two years ago, what is the fate of journalists who are currently
writing against politicians in the country, he asked.
told The Sunday Times that he has brought the matter to the notice
of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as a protective measure.
He added that ordinary citizens in the country are not safe these
days when they go to five star hotels.
took place at the Chinese restaurant in the Hilton Hotel on the
night of June 30 where Mr. Karunanayake was having dinner with a
foreign journalist. Minister Mahinda Wijesekara who had been entertaining
himself at the restaurant with some of his colleagues had come to
Mr. Karunanayake and threatened him and his family with death over
a column he had written in the Sunday Observer around August-September
has allegedly lashed out verbally at the journalist saying "
it is you man who slung mud at me, branding me as 'Kaluwara Mahinda'
" and had added that he would finish off Mr. Karunanayake during
the period of this government.
Mahinda Wijesekara told The Sunday Times that the complaint made
by Mr. Rajakarunanayake to the police "is totally a false story"
but declined to elaborate on the issue.
was also recently at the centre of controversy over the chopping
down of a 500 year old mara tree of immense historic value and the
demolishing of a lawyers' complex in the Matara Fort.
In the latest
incident, the minister was strongly criticised by the Opposition
and even by the government politicians for allegedly breaching the
bund of the Nilwala river which has caused havoc to Matara district
during the recent floods.
Free Media Movement said that it unreservedly condemns the alleged
threat by Minister Mahinda Wijesekara and urged the Government to
take appropriate action against the minister so that justice is