Fuel stations demanding bribes from private buses

  • Private Bus Owners threaten to strike after O/L Exam 
  • Complaints that Rs. 1,000 being sought to pump

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

Claiming that employees of certain filling stations are demanding bribes to issue fuel to buses, the Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) warned that it would cease the operation of buses after the General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level (O/L) Examination, if the authorities do not take action to prevent such incidents.

Speaking to The Morning yesterday (25), LPBOA President Gemunu Wijeratne said: “For days, bus owners have informed me that certain filling station workers are demanding a sum of about Rs. 1,000 for fuelling buses. Such an incident was reported at a filling station in Nugegoda too. I was told that certain pumpers were demanding Rs. 1,000, especially when a full tank of fuel is being pumped into the bus.”

He said that bus owners, who have been severely affected by the prevailing fuel shortage, rising prices of spare parts, and other economic hardships, have been further affected due to such incidents. He said that the Ministry of Power and Energy, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and the other relevant agencies should intervene and resolve such issues expeditiously.

“At this time, people are largely using public transport instead of private vehicles. Therefore, we are rendering a great service by operating buses even in the midst of these challenges. But if these kinds of incidents continue, we will have to suspend the operation of buses, albeit reluctantly. Given the ongoing O/L Examination, we will not take such a move at this time, but it will definitely happen when the exam is over,” he warned.

The country has been hit by several issues over the past few months with the economy being hit hard due to the deficit of US dollar reserves needed for imports. Over the last few months, many arrivals of stocks of fuel have been delayed due to the same and the country is facing a severe shortage of fuel. As a result, vehicle owners have to wait in long queues to refuel their vehicles.