seeks link with private firm
By Nilika de Silva
In what might be the first step towards privatisation of the Central
Transport Board, the government is to build a partnership with a local
or foreign company. State Transport Minister Upali Piyasoma told The
Sunday Times that the move was necessary to inject efficiency into
the state bus service.
He said the
government was willing to forge a link with a supportive partner
who would bring in capital and expertise to improve the transport
service and give a better deal to commuters.
the bus service is not efficient. Buses do not run at night. The
facilities are insufficient and the buses are dirty. To change this
situation for better, we are looking to a partnership," the
cabinet is to take up a proposal to sell 1,000 state-owned buses
to bring in revenue in the region of Rs. 250 million. "The
money will be used to improve financial position of the eleven transport
depots of the CTB. The present situation is really bad.
here is no money
to pay salaries," the Minister said. While the country has
a fleet of 9,430 buses only 6,900 are in running condition, the
minister said adding that the number of good buses are fast declining.
said neither the ministry nor the CTB had money to repair the buses
that were not in operation. But to run the 6,900 buses, there are
about 44,000 employees in the CTB, the minister said pointing to
the problem of overstaffing.
plea put off; counsel seeks more time
By Laila Nasry
The bail applications filed on behalf of the two Air Force officers
convicted of criminal intimidation, trespass and unlawful entry
with weapons into the home of The Sunday Times Consultant Editor,
were postponed for June 13.
Ranjit Abeysuriya appearing for Sujeewa Kannangara, one of the convicts,
requested Colombo High Court Judge Sarath Ambepitiya to grant further
time to counter the objections raised by State Counsel P. P. Surasena
to the granting of bail.
On the previous occasion, the State Counsel objected to bail on
the ground that it could jeopardise the lives of the witnesses who
were already under threat.
Mr. Surasena submitted a CID affidavit confirming that there is
an on-going investigation with regard to the alleged threat made
to Mr. Athas. Such a complaint was lodged with the CID by Mr. Athas,
in the wake of a crowd of Army personnel being present in court
on February 1, their suspicious behaviour causing much alarm to
him. Also both the 1st and 2nd accused were seen at the time, talking
to the person who was thought to be the leader of the group of Army
Further T. G.
Gunasekera, junior counsel to Daya Perera who appeared on behalf
of the Athas' family had made a statement to the CID saying that
an unidentified person on the day prior to the judgment had threatened
him over the phone saying that Mr. Athas, his wife and daughter
would be killed if the accused in the case were to be convicted.
In the affidavit of CID Officer Wijesekera, it is stated that due
to such threats the CID had provided special security to the court
house deploying two special teams of police officers attached to
for bail filed on behalf of Rukman Herath and Sujeewa Kannangara,
cite humanitarian reasons. Both Srinath Perera PC, Counsel for the
1st accused Herath, and Ranjit Abeysuriya PC for the 2nd accused
Kannangara individually submit that the children of their clients
were suffering from trauma and mental instability as a result of
their fathers being away from home.
Herath and Squadron Leader Kannangara were found guilty on two counts,
namely for committing the offense of entering the Athas residence
on February 12, 1998 and for criminal intimidation towards Mr. Athas
by threatening to cause grievous hurt by using a firearm.
Both were sentenced
for seven years RI each for the first count and two years RI each
for the second count. They were also ordered to pay a fine of Rs.
10,000 in the event of default one year RI. They have appealed against
The Wildlife Department is to increase the number of trackers at
the Yala National Park during peak periods following a complaint
of a VIPs vehicle going off the track to get a closer look at elephants,
according to Wildlife Director Dayananda Kariyawasam.
He said the move was being implemented to prevent visitors from
violating park regulations.
the incident that prompted the department to take this measure,
Mr. Dayananda Kariyawasam said a department probe showed that though
the vehicles carrying the minister and his family members went off
the track, the situation was brought under control after the tracker
explained to them the park rules.