Passengers turned back at Manammpiddi
[TamilNet, Friday, 13 March 1998, 23:59 GMT]
Passengers in buses, lorries and private vehicles who travelled up to Manammpiddi, on the Batticaloa-Polonnaruwa border, in the hope that the negotiations that Ports Minister M.H.M. Ashraff had with Sri Lanka Government authorities would have led to the lifting of the travel restriction in and out of the Batticaloa District, were turned back by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) at the border and ordered to return to Batticaloa today.
Meanwhile, Joseph Pararajasingham, Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) MP for the Batticaloa District, inquired from the Minister of Transport and Highways A.H.M. Fowzie today whether the restrictions could be waived for buses run by the Central transport Board (CTB).
Minister Fowzie said that he would speak to the Minister of Defence Anuruddha Ratwatte on the matter.
Alisahir Mowlana, United National Party (UNP) MP for the Batticaloa District, spoke to Senior Superintendent of Police, Polonnaruwa S. Wickramasinghe requesting that the restrictions be lifted.
SSP Wickramasinghe told Mr. Mowlana that he would lift the restrictions if he was instructed to do so by higher authorities.
Mr. Mowlana then spoke to Secretary, Minister of Defence, Chandrananda De Silva, who told him that the matter would be taken up at a special meeting of the Ministry of Defence today.
The Batticaloa District Vehicle Owners Association's Co-ordinating Secretary MSM Segar, requested Minister Ashraff today to intervene in the issue.
Mr. Ashraff said he would raise the matter at the District Co-ordinating Council (DCC) meeting in Ampara.
Though the DCC meeting was held, the matter of the transport regulations was not successfully resolved, said sources.
Sources in Batticaloa said that though there was no immediate rise in the prices of fuel, the price of ladies' bicycles had gone up. A bicycle which customarily fetches 4,250 rupees went up to 4450 rupees they said.
12.03.98 Batticaloa vehicles barred