The Supreme Court yesterday directed the Police Chief to consider removing all barriers along the Galle Road to implement the pilot project under which buses would run along a stipulated lane up and down the Galle Road and buses would not use R.A.De.Mel Mawatha (Duplication Road).
When the rights petition in respect of air pollution and city traffic congestion came up before the Supreme Court yesterday Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva noted that many roads in the city were closed and reiterated that people must have access to any place. He said denying them access was a violation of their fundamental rights.
The Bench which comprised Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva, Justices Shiranee Tilakawardane and N.G.Amaratunga also directed the Western Province Passenger Transport Authority to fully implement the regulations gazetted for the introduction of uniforms for private bus drivers and conductors as well as equipping them with ticketing machines before January 1.
Court directed the National Transport Commission and Western Province Passenger Transport Authority to start the operation of the Premium Bus Service in the city in consultation with the National Transport Commission before January 1 to restrict the inflow of private vehicles to the city.
The Court directed the Western Province Transport Authority to suspend route permits of those who violated the regulation and suspend their turn in the time tables.
The Court directed that the time tables should be restructured to consolidate it with the CTB and Private bus services.
It also issued notice on the Colombo Municipal Council Commissioner to appear in court and explain why the parking of vehicles were prohibited along R.A.De Mel Mawatha in violation of the court order issued earlier.
Court directed the Sri Lanka Ports Authority to conduct meetings with the relevant stake holders to restrict the movement of containers between 4.00 p.m. and 8.00 p.m. to and from the Colombo Port to minimize the congestion during rush hours.
The Court has already directed the relevant parties for the modification of silencers of private buses.
Following the rights petition, the National Transport Commission (NTC) had already submitted a strategic plan for traffic management in greater Colombo area.
Petitioner Environmental Foundation Ltd, its chairman Geethani Wijesinghe cited Minister of Environment Champika Ranawaka, Central Environmental Authority, Air Recourse Management Centre, Minister of Transport, the Commissioner General of Motor Traffic, IGP and the Attorney General as respondents.
The petitioners are asking the court to direct the respondent Ministers to promulgate comprehensive regulation to deal with the deteriorating ambient air quality as well as direct them to implement a suitable city traffic plan to reduce the city traffic and thereby reduce the air pollution.
NTC Chairman in his strategic plan had stated the action plan is to conduct a wider discussion with stakeholders on the practical aspects of implementation of this strategic plan.
Uditha Egalahewa appeared for the petitioner. Deputy Solicitor General Ms B.Tilakaratne appeared for the respondents. Upali Jayamanne appeared for the Western Province Road Passenger Authority.