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Sri Lanka expressway way toll collection declines by cashiers stealing

By: Staff Writer

June 23, Colombo (LNW): Sri Lanka expressway cashiers stealing 10 to 20-pct of toll revenue is continuing despite the introduction of electronic toll collection (ETC) system at expressways to help alleviate traffic congestion, reduce delay, fuel consumption, and vehicle emissions, official sources revealed.

A cashier at manual toll collection (MTC) centres in expressways takes around 12 to 15 seconds to collect the toll from a single vehicle and hand back the receipt.

The ETC could reduce this to around six seconds and help the vehicles leaving the expressways faster. This would be very helpful during rush-hours where we usually see lines of vehicles at toll collection centres, a high official of the Road Development Authority(RDA) said.

ETCs are currently installed at the Colombo – Katunayake Expressway and Colombo Southern expressway etc.

Mal practices could be reduced promote this by starting to use pre-paid ETC cards. If we promote the ETC pre-paid card system it could help reduce traffic congestion at inter-changes by allowing drivers to move in and out of toll systems without delay.

Most of these corrupt practices could be solved by transferring expressways can be transferred from the Road Development Authority (RDA) to the State-owned company named Sahasya Investments Ltd (SIL) soon he added.

In a startling revelation cashiers at Sri Lanka’s expressways are found to be stealing up to 20 percent of fees Secretary to the Highways Ranjith Subasinghe told the parliament’s Committee on Public Enterprises.

Members of the committee said highway tolls of the Road Development Authority had surged on the day when the military had operated the booths during a strike by cashiers, raising questions about the collections on other days.

“Based on the day the Army operated the toll booths, there is a minimum of 10 to 20 percent revenue leakage,” Rubasinghe told the COPE according to the broadcast recording of proceedings.

An RDA official said 19 cashiers have so far been identified but there were not enough cashiers to run the toll booths so they have not been interdicted.

The Representative of the Auditor General’s office questioned how officers who have been found to have committed fraud remain in the public service.

RDA officials said there was shortage of cashiers but some who were placed in offices as management assistants and sought an order from the COPE direct them to be placed as cashiers.

There was also a move to hire persons on service contracts until and electronic toll system comes on line next year and place them on the entry booths and not exits.

An RDA officer said several cashiers manning the exit at Athurugiriya was found to have been stealing money, but no action could be taken due to a shortage of cashiers. It was done by shutting off CCTV cameras and cutting wires.

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