June 26, Colombo: Sri Lanka Marxist party Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) today charged that the government after increasing the bus fares was also likely to increase train fares to address the massive losses incurred by the country’s transport sector.
The government’s move to hand over the construction of railway lines in Sri Lanka to India has caused massive losses to the country, the JVP alleged.
JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva told a press conference that India is to construct railway lines from Kankasanthurai to Omanthai (149 Km) and Thalaimannar to Medawachchiya (106 Km). He said the government incurs a loss of US$ 1.5 million for each kilometer of the railway track as it has to pay US$ 2.0 million to India for each kilometer stretch.
He explained that the government had to hand over these projects to India due to the US$ 800 million loan taken by the government in 2010.
The secretary also charged that the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) has had to incur losses amounting to Rs. 400 million after providing buses for the government May Day rally this year.
He observed that the SLTB is bankrupt due to the government seeking cheap political gains, and the private bus owners have had to face problems due to increasing fuel prices and spare parts prices.
However, Silva said that burdening the public by increasing bus fares by 7.6 percent was not the answer to the transport sector issues.
According to Silva, the government should provide fuel and other concessions to private bus operators and thereby resolving the issue.