Bad fuel brought buses to screeching halt, losses to more than Rs. 6m
Bus operators have been hit hard by the substandard diesel that was released to the market, with the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) suffering losses running into more than Rs.6.6 million.SLTB Vice Chairman L.A. Wikramaratna said 251 normal buses and 10 semi luxury buses were made immobile while about Rs. 600,000 was spent to replace the filters of the vehicles.
Losses were also incurred due to the inability of the buses to operate for several days.
SLTB Deputy General Manager (Technical) G.K. Ariyarathna, said bus depots islandwide had made complaints to regional offices of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) while the SLTB would be making an official complaint by the end of this month.
The Sunday Times also spoke to several bus owners, who complained that they incurred financial losses due to damage caused to their vehicles.
D.W. Karunarathna Sunil, a bus owner from Nugegoda said he suffered a loss of more than Rs. 40,000.
He said as a routine practice, Rs 18,000 worth of diesel was pumped into the bus. “First we had to change the diesel filters, but that did not work. As a result we had to empty the tank and replace the contaminated fuel with super diesel.”
He said he could not operate the bus for two days.
He added although he has got back to using normal diesel again, he doesn’t fill the tank as he is still wary about the quality of the fuel.Thilak Udesiri who operates a bus on the Kottawa-Pettah route said he had to replace the diesel filters while the fuel tank had to be serviced.
He added that buses with turbo engines were affected the most as they use special filters which get blocked when inferior diesel is used.Nimal Jayalath from the Mathugama branch of the Private Bus Owners’ Association (PBOA), said around 18 buses had been damaged due to the contaminated diesel, with losses amounting to around Rs. 60,000 in some cases.
Meanwhile, PBOA president Gemunu Wijeratne who submitted a report to the Ministry of Petroleum on Friday detailing the damage caused by the contaminated diesel and the losses caused to bus owners said he hoped that the government would pay some sort of compensation to those who had incurred losses.
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