Sri Lanka bus operators strike against fines; commuters stranded


Dec 02, 2016 (LBO) – Several private bus unions resorted to an islandwide strike from midnight last night against the budget proposal to increase traffic fines, resulting in a major inconvenience to the public. Sri Lanka Transport Board requested police protection for buses in operation today as several buses had been attacked. General Secretary of the All Island Private Bus Owners Association Anjana Priyanjith said the strike action will go on until the government withdraws the 25,000 rupee traffic fine.
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President of the Lanka Private Bus Owners' Association, Gemunu Wijeratne, accused the government of poor communication with regard to the proposed fines. Wijeratne, who supports the unity government, said they are not participating in the strike. Deputy Transport Minister Ashok Abeysingha yesterday said the public need not panic as the proposed fine of 25,000 rupees is still at a discussion level. He said the fines will only be imposed after getting Parliamentary approval through amendment of the Motor Traffic Act. Abeysingha further stated that there is no fixed date to start imposing the proposed fines yet. He said that traffic rule violations related to excessive speed and overtaking from the left will be further discussed in the future. The Colombo-Negombo main road was blocked at the Galkanda junction by three-wheeler operators who were protesting against the increase of the minimum fine. The railway trade unions decided yesterday not to take part in the scheduled strike following discussions with the President. Meanwhile, a special meeting between the President and Transport union representatives is to be held this afternoon to discuss the on-going strike action.
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