Jan 10, 2006 (LBO) – Sri Lanka government is planning to inject more subsidies into the loss making, heavily unionized state bus service, following violent protests by workers connected to a Marxist nationalist party, a senior government minister said. Transport Minister A H M Fowzie said he was in talks with the Treasury to get 190 million rupees for a 5000 rupee delayed payment relating to the months of December 2004 and January 2005, which was the cause of the most recent unrest.
“In December SLTB received 707.7 million from the treasury,” Minister Fowzie said. “How can we ask for more?”
Minister Fowzie charged that members of a union connected to the Marxist-nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna had stormed the ministry premises, smashed windows, telephones and pictures of himself on Tuesday.
Each month about 344 million is needed for salaries and more for fuel. SLTB’s losses rise when petroleum prices are raised.
At the moment the utility is making a loss of 16 rupees for every kilometer it operates.
Minister Fowzie says 35 percent of the revenue from passengers does not get into the official books.
Up to June 2006, the utility has reported a loss of 1,262 million rupees, requiring 1,442 million