The All Ceylon Transport Workers Union has warned that the recent restoration of the Sri Lanka Transport Board would be futile unless corrupt officials in charge of cluster bus companies were immediately replaced.
The union, affiliated to the JVP, has urged the newly appointed Transport Minister A. H. M. Fowzie to take immediate action in this regard. Spokesman Sepala Liyanage has requested Fowzie to prevent the Sri Lanka Nidahas Jathika Pravahana Sevaka Samithiya from interfering with the appointments.
According to Liyanage, workers recently prevented a newly appointed director from entering the Anuradhapura depot. The appointment is believed to have been made on a directive of the powerful SLFP union accused by the All Ceylon Transport Workers Union of ruining the Anuradhapura depot.
Liyanage claimed that a group of corrupt officials and trade union leaders were planning to move the `Control room` from Anuradhapura to Medawachchiya.
Liyanage in a recent letter to Fowzie has emphasised that appointments to regional boards should be made purely on qualifications. The Minister has been urged to prevent trade unions from playing pandu with regional boards thereby reversing the ongoing efforts to restore public transport services.
The Island learns that the JVP is planning to take this up with President Mahinda Rajapakse. JVP heavyweight K. D. Lal Kantha, in charge of the powerful public sector trade union organisation, has authorised the transport sector union to raise this issue with Fowzie.
The JVP repeatedly clashed with the SLFP union after the last parliamentary elections in April but failed to persuade former President Chandrika Kumaratunga to initiate the required changes.