More than 100 bus conductors have been interdicted during the first quarter of this year for defrauding the Central Transport Board of millions through a racket involving bus fares.
CTB chairman Tudor Dayaratne said a large number of employees had been detected defrauding the Board of bus fares and according to the provisions in the CTB Act, the suspected conductors had been immediately interdicted and their salaries held back till inquiries are completed.
According to CTB sources, millions of rupees have been pilfered out every month by a racket operated by drivers and conductors with the blessings of some depot managers, by issuing under valued or fake tickets to passengers.
The debt ridden board is heavily dependent on Treasury handouts for survival and its salaries haven`t been increased to be on par with the rest of the public sector, thus making the board one of the worst paymasters in the State sector. This is believed to be one of the main causes behind rampant corruptions.
Dayaratne said that the Board is planning to strengthen its flying squads as the first step in cracking down the racket and is also planning to introduce new ticket books which are difficult to alter.
He said that though operating under many difficulties, the CTB plays a vital role in providing commuter services to the masses and many rural areas are only served by CTB busses.
He said that the government had made provisions in the budgets of 2006 and 2007 to import 2,000 new busses for the CTB fleet, with a view to strengthen the CTB to compete strongly with private busses.