At least 10 trains affected

Passenger transport in Sri Lanka was hit by contaminated diesel with buses and trains breaking down, officials said on Tuesday.

Private bus operators said that more than 70 passenger buses had broken down after running on the contaminated fuel.

A local private bus union, the Private Bus Operators Association (LPBOA), said that fuel injectors in the bus engines were damaged as a result of the contaminated diesel.

“The buses started breaking down over the past two days. Most bus owners did not know what the issue was and so they assumed it was a normal breakdown and went and got it fixed. But we now found that more and more buses were breaking down and then it was clear that contaminated diesel was the cause,” LPBOA President Gemunu Wijeyratne told Xinhua.

The contaminated diesel was pumped at fuel stations operated by the government owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), Wijeyratne said.

He said that some bus operators were now pumping diesel at the Indian owned Lanka Indian Oil Corporation (LIOC) fuel stations hoping that the fuel there is clean.

Wijeyratne said his private bus union is to meet over the next day or two to discuss the issue and the possibility of seeking compensation from the government for the damaged buses.

Meanwhile the Sri Lankan state owned railway department said at least 10 train engines had been affected so far by contaminated diesel.

Sri Lanka Railways General Manager B.A.P. Ariyaratne told Xinhua that the contaminated diesel had forced some trains to stall while others were going at a very slow speed.

He said that a request has now been put forward to the CPC for fresh diesel to operate the trains.

Ariyaratne said that with the 10 train engines being affected, passengers had been stranded with a shortage of trains operating during the day.

Last year Sri Lanka faced a similar issue when contaminated petrol affected hundreds of vehicles on the street. Owners of all the damaged vehicles were later paid compensation by the government. (Xinhua)