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Exorbitant charges by SLA to transport goods to Jaffna through A9 road

[TamilNet, Friday, 10 July 2009 06:53 No Comment]

Representatives of Jaffna Traders’ Union (JTU) accused the Government of charging excessively for the transport of goods by lorries from Colombo to Jaffna through A9 road and the consequent high price the people have to pay for the goods, in a meeting held Thursday at Jaffna Secretariat with a visiting team of Government Ministers, sources in Jaffna said. The Ministers, however, said that the extra charges have to be made in order to meet the expense of Sri Lanka Army (SLA) which has to inspect the goods and escort the lorries from Oamanthai SLA check post, the sources added.

JTU representatives pointed out that 1,032,000 rupees have to be paid to the lorries owned by Sinhalese traders registered with the government besides paying an extra amount ranging from 25,000 to 40,000 rupees to the SLA at Oamanthai for checking the goods in each lorry bringing goods to Jaffna.

The representatives further complained that the number of lorries allowed to transport goods was hardy enough to meet the needs of the peninsula and said that it would be possible for them to transport goods at the rate of 75,000 rupees per lorry if allowed to transport the goods in their own lorries.

Only 400 lorries owned by Southern traders registered with the Government CWE are now being permitted by Defence Ministry to transport goods to Jaffna, the representatives told the ministers.

The visiting team of ministers consisted of Bandula Gunawardne, Minister of Trade, Marketing Development, Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs, Tissa Karaliyadde, Minister of Indigenous Medicine and Aluthanantha Gamage, Minister of Power & Energy.

Minister Douglas Devananda, SLA key officers and Jaffna Government Agent too participated in the meeting.

When the JTU representatives requested that they be allowed to transport building materials to Jaffna the ministers said that three branches of Sathosa and Building Department are to be opened soon in Jaffna and the traders could by the materials wholesale from these and sell in retail to local consumers.

The representatives pointed out that the need of the peninsula cannot be met by opening the said branches.

The visiting team of ministers, however, assured that they will refer the requests to Defence Secretary.

[Full Coverage]

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