A bus strike by private bus operators against the issue of route permits came to a complete halt this morning after the Western Provincial authorities received notice from President Mahinda Rajapaksa to revoke permits which were issued recently.
All buses in the Western Province went on strike yesterday after new route permits were issued for two buses plying the 171 and 138 routes. Lanka Private Bus Owners Association (LPBOA) President Gemunu WIjeyratne said that despite a ban on route permits that are not issued in accordance with legal tender procedures, the Western Province Road Passenger Transport Authority had continued to issue permits illegally.
“We went on strike in protest against this and will take a further step to go on an all island strike or court action against the Provincial Road Passenger Transport Authority,” WIjeyratne said.
Private bus operators met with Western Province Transport Minister Upali Kodikara on Saturday afternoon but could not reach an amicable decision. Later in the day private bus operators held discussions with Western Province Governor Alavi Moulana who received approval from President Rajapaksa to revoke the permits.
“We were assured by the Governor that the issue of illegal permits would be stopped. We will have to wait and see what happens. If it does not stop we will be forced to take further action,” Wijeyratne said.
Commenting on reports that state that there could be a Rs.5 diesel increase by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, he said that private bus owners will fight to have the fares raised and to gain fuel subsidies. “We have continuously voiced our anxieties but they have not been heard. If the fares are not rasied we will take action,” he said. (Olindhi Jayasundere)