Transport Minister Kumara Welgama has said that he wanted the services of a Mapila snake (a black mamba) to get the SLTB out of the current mess as the country’s main transport system is plagued with corruption and waste.
Addressing a function at Panadura Depot, Minister Welgama said the SLTB couln’t be saved without an efficient and honest staff which was lacking at the moment.
“I would always obtain the advice of honest and dedicated officials of the SLTB who have experience in the transport sector on how to turn around the SLTB. The SLTB is full of vipers. There was a good and honest official who hated corruption and waste in the SLTB.
“Whenever he visits a depot, the employees used to say ‘here come Mapila’ because he never hesitated to punish those who cheated SLTB,” he said.
But the Minister said that the income of the depot had gone up when he paid a visit to that depot. “Therefore, I need a few Mapilas like ho him to bring the SLTB from the current mess,” Minister Welgama stressed.
Minister Welgama added that the SLTB loses 10% or Rs. 500 million of its daily income to due thefts among bus conductors which is cold ‘Matiya Gahanawa’. But senior management of a depot must find a solution for this kind of corruption. The best lesson to minimize corruption in the SLTB was to get the services of several Mapilas, he said.
Another 500 new buses will be added shortly to the SLTB bus fleet and depot superintendents and managers must be determined to use these buses to increase the income of the depot, he said.
Though the SLTB has achieved a considerable progress in the last two years there was still much to be done. But the SLTB still could not compete with the private sector and competition was necessary for an efficient and viable commercial venture, he added.
The main plus point for the SLTB was it is still popular among the public and their first choice when they use public transport. Therefore, all employees of the SLTB must be determined to maintain the commuter confidence and use it for the benefit of the SLTB, Minister Welgama emphasized. (Sandun A. Jayasekera)