Thursday, 6 March 2014 00:44
By Ashwin Hemmathagama
Our Lobby Correspondent
The Government amended the regulations under the Motor Traffic Act by bringing down the charges enabling the motorcycles and the three-wheelers also to obtain special numbers up to 10,000 from the ongoing numbers at the time of registration. These regulations which were passed yesterday at Parliament came into effect immediately.
Moving the motion containing the regulations made by the Minister of Transport under Section 237 read with Sections 21, 22, 23, 24 and 24 A of the Motor Traffic Act (Chapter 203) and published in the Gazette Extraordinary No. 1833/27 of 24 October 2013, Minister of Transport Kumara Welgama said: “Across the board vehicles have had to pay Rs. 50,000 at the time of registration to obtain a special number up to 10,000 from the ongoing numbers. The payment was enhanced to Rs. 60,000 if the registration number stood up to 20,000 from the ongoing numbers. This is increased to Rs. 70,000 for 30,000 from the ongoing numbers. But we saw it unfair for three-wheelers and the motorcycles. So, the price was reduced.”
Revealing new developments for allowing personalising vehicle registrations Minister Welgama said: “We are also in discussion to allow personalised number plates. This could allow the Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa to have ‘Chamal 007’ on registration plate on his new Mercedes 350SL convertible. He would love to drive the Mercedes 350SL convertible with the hood down and showing off the personalised number plate, much similar to James Bond. Apart from that we opened the railway track to Pallai yesterday. We are looking at extending the railway track to Jaffna by June this year and extend to KKS by September.”
In response, opposition lawmaker Eran Wickramaratne highlighting the increased numbers of vehicles and the growing road congestions said: “It is the duty of the Government to make plans for better transport systems and respective regulations rather becoming the transport supplier. There is a Transport Minister in this country but roads are built by different Ministries. Over 200,000 vehicles enter the city on a daily basis out of which 40% are private vehicles. If you are coming from Galle the average speed would be 13kmph, from the Negombo road 16kmph, from Malabe side 14kmph, and it is 16kmph on the Highlevel Road. Public transport services are improved in other countries.”