SLA needs undermine Jaffna public transport

[TamilNet, Friday, 28 July 2000, 21:10 GMT]
Public transport in the Sri Lanka army held parts of Jaffna is in dire straits due to a shortage of buses, a government official said Friday.

He said many public transport vehicles had been taken away during the heavy fighting in April May this year. The Sri Lanka Army requisitioned a large number of buses from Jaffna's public transport system in the face of a logistics crisis when the Liberation Tigers began advancing on its sprawling Elephant Pass base complex in April this year.

Some of these vehicles were damaged while in sevice in the war zones and due to constant usage off road, particularly after the LTTE cut off the Main Supply Route to the Elephant Pass base.

Many buses are out of service because spare parts cannot be brought from Colombo according to the official. Priority is currently given to bringing in vehicle spare parts for the SLA.

The SLA frequently requisitions vehicles from civilians in the eastern province and Vavuniya too. The matter was brought to the notice of Major General Susil Chandrapala, the new General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the 23 Division at a meeting with Non Governmental organisations in the Batticaloa district Thursday.

Major Gen. Chandrapala told representatives of the Batticaloa NGOs who raised the issue that they can refuse to give their vehicles and that they could refer SLA personnel demanding their vehciles to him.

Sources in Batticaloa said that quite often even government officials have to wait near Police and SLA camps and sentry points for hours in the scorching sun until their vehciles are returned to them by the soldiers or Policemen.

 

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