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Public funds swindled:

Spare parts scam at CTB

COLOMBO: The Transport Ministry yesterday said spare parts suppliers in connivance with some CTB officials have devoured public funds worth billions of rupees by providing substandard spare parts to buses, Ministry sources said.

This massive scam had continued for a number of years unnoticed. A supplier was paid Rs. 82 million by the CTB for the supply of spare parts a year, whereas he had actually imported spare parts valued at Rs. 14 million.

The Ministry has found it difficult to deal with these suppliers who had used various tricks from being punished by law. “We began a comprehensive probe into transactions of these suppliers as soon as the Ministry was aware of this scam and reduced the number of spare parts suppliers to 15 from 324, Ministry sources said. These suppliers selected by the Ministry are supplying parts only from Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs)”.

A central spare parts storage is expected to be set up soon through which the CTB can directly purchase parts from OEMs bringing third party intervention in the spare part supply to zero.

A tyre processing unit will also be set up within the next two weeks in Ekala to locally meet the tyre requirement of CTB depots islandwide. The CTB requires over 15,000 refilled and original tyres annually. The spokesman said over 50 per cent of the tyre requirement in CTB depots is expected to be provided by the proposed Ekala tyre processing unit which will commence operation within the next two weeks and tyre for the CTB could be produced locally after other tyre processing units come into effect next year.

“The Ministry imported more than 2,000 buses to strengthen the CTB bus fleet.

A massive programme is under way to make the dilapidated buses roadworthy and parts are supplied to the depots for this purpose,” he said.

The Ministry plans not to import buses in the future and hopes to rehabilitate the existing fleet.

Most depots set a side dilapidated buses which had been plying till new buses were provided.

The CTB bus fleet did not see a much increase even after 2,000 buses were imported from India, for this reason, the spokesman said.

He said CTB employees’ salaries were reviewed and they were getting higher salaries than what they received under companies.

 

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