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Central Transport Board launches:

Colombo-Jaffna bus service

Government restrengthens North - South link:

The Government yesterday restrengthened the link between the South and the North with the symbolical restarting of the Jaffna – Colombo CTB bus service along the A-9 road which was abandoned for the past two decades, enabling the people of Jaffna to reach the South through a land route.

Senior Presidential Advisor and MP Basil Rajapaksa inaugurated this bus service from Jaffna after deploying five buses from the Jaffna depot.

The five buses taking 225 passengers started their journey towards Colombo at 10.32 a.m from Duraiappa Stadium via Medwacchiya and then to Colombo.

The commencement of the bus service would be a direct result of the liberation of the entire country from the clutches of the LTTE by the Security Forces, as it had enabled to enshrine the Northern people who had been subjected to a decade of suffering at the hand of the LTTE, with their basic rights and facilities.

Transport services to Jaffna on the A-9 road came to a complete stand still on August 11, 2006 with the escalation of battles between the Security Forces and the LTTE and the transport service was recommenced only in April this year with the resumption of troop movements along the A-9 road and later with the commencement of transportation of essential goods.

Road Passenger Transport Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna, and Northern Province Governor Major General G.A Chandrasiri participated at the inauguration of this bus service which was held at the Durai Appa Stadium yesterday morning.

Five buses flying national flags and decorated with coconut flowers to suit this historic occasion proceeded along the A-9 road under the protection of the Sri Lanka Army and the Police on its journey to Colombo via Medawachchiya.

The Sri Lanka Army and the Police has assured the protection of these buses throughout its journey from Jaffna to Colombo.

The Transport Ministry commenced this bus service for the convenience of the Jaffna population charging a concessionary fare of Rs.325 for their 400 km journey from Jaffna to Colombo .

”Further steps will be taken to streamline the Colombo Jaffna bus service after providing necessary facilities to strengthen the service”, Jaffna Government Agent K. Ganesh said.

The completion of the de-mining process and establishing facilities along the A-9 road between Omanthai and Muhamalai has to be developed further to expand the bus services and the inauguration of the bus service was only a first step towards resuming normal bus services along the road.

A spokesman for the Transport Ministry told the Daily News that although the bus service was symbolically inaugurated yesterday the Transport Ministry will take steps to start bus service between Jaffna and Medawachchiya within the next two weeks on a daily basis enabling the passengers to reach Medawachchiya and then proceed towards Colombo.

He however said a restricted number of passengers will be allowed to use this service which will operate along the A-9 road with military escort.

The inauguration of this bus service will definateley bring a sigh of relief for the people of Jaffna as they had either to fly to Ratmalana or sail to Trincomalee in order to reach Colombo to attend to their requirements.

On a request made by the Government the internal airline operators agreed to reduce the air fares between Colombo and Jaffna for the convenience of the Jaffna population.

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