ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, January 7, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 32

Passenger security: Busmen, Railways, CTB face dilemma
By N. Dilshath Banu
In the wake of the recent bomb explosions in buses, security precautions are being tightened at the Central Bus Stand (CBS) in Pettah and the Fort Railway Stations. However these steps are causing practical problems with the checking likely to delay journeys.

Drivers and conductors at the bus stand said they would face practical difficulties if they were to carry out checks on all baggage of passengers. Kapila Ramanayake, a bus driver for the past 20 years said, “It’s very difficult to check each and every passenger who gets into the bus, especially on crowded days. There are instances of arguments taking place when we try to check the passengers. It’s even difficult for the conductor to check everyone and at the same time issue tickets”.

He added that the security forces or police officers should check the passenger, not only at the check points but also inside the bus. In the alternative he urged the relevant authorities to grant them legal authority. Wimal Samarakoon, a passenger said it was better if the passengers were checked. U.J. Sisira a driver for 11 years of a Colombo-Galle bus said, “I have told my conductor to be alert. If we are suspicious, we will check the passengers”.

At the CBS, security arrangements were better with announcements to the public to be vigilant.
S.K. Jayasinghe, the driver of an Ampara-Kalmunai bus said he was particular about the passengers in his bus especially after the journey’s break for tea.

“Ours is a trip of more than 12 hours. Any one can place a bomb during the long journey. My conductor and I sometimes check the passengers’ bagggage to ensure that nothing goes wrong,” he said.

A CTB Executive Officer, Sanjeewa Subanarachchi said, “Soon after the Matara bomb blast the security forces warned us to be alert and inform them if there is anything suspicious.” Meanwhile, the Fort Railway Protection Force (FRPF) officers were checking passengers at the railway station. However, one FRPF officer said it was difficult to check all passengers due to the shortage of staff.


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Copyright 2006 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.