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 Post subject: Pettah bus stand - Sri Lanka’s Central Hell-Hole
 Post Posted: Fri May 18, 2007 9:33 pm 
The Central Bus stand of Pettah - Sri Lanka’s Central Hell-Hole
The dirt and debris at every corner of the Central Bus Stand

After dusk, the Central Bus Stand is definitely the most dangerous place to be in. Then it becomes an open house for prostitutes, drug addicts, thieves and perverts. Dawn to dusk the surrounding pavements are crowded with sweep ticket sellers, the peanut sellers, the pickpockets, the beggars and vendors selling items as varied as picture post cards, mangoes, plastic giraffes, Santa Claus’ and apples. Every activity is conducted in an around it in a bigger way than what it is actually meant for except a good bus service. Commuters jump over potholes and mud holes with folded trousers and hiked up sarees, and stand in the dark grey areas filled with dirt and debris which is meant to be a shelter.

©The Morning Leader /
Wednesday, May 16, 2007


The Central Bus stand in any other country is a landmark – the pride of the region and the place at which everyone gathers. But if one takes the Pettah bus stand, it is the last place that anyone would want to be in. In short, it is best hidden with a wall around it, so that visitors to this area do not see this slimy place in Colombo. For in sunshine or rain, the Central Bus Stand in Pettah is an eyesore to look at, let alone to be in..

Every activity is conducted in an around it in a bigger way than what it is actually meant for. As commuters jump over potholes and mud holes with folded trousers and hiked up sarees, and stand in the dark grey area which is meant to be a shelter, they are hunted upon by many kinds of traders – there are the sweep ticket sellers, the peanut sellers, the pickpockets, the prostitutes and the beggars.

The surroundings are horrendous – with muddy water and little protection for the well clad from the buses that fall into these mud holes without a warning.

Other businesses

The buildings of the Central Bus Stand ought to he refurbished and services associated with bus servicing ought to be carried out in these structures. But what is happening today is that other kinds of businesses, ranging from old bookshops to quick fix prostitution are carried on in the vicinity during the day and night.

After dusk, the Central Bus Stand is definitely the most dangerous place to be in. Then it becomes an open house for prostitutes, drug addicts, thieves and perverts.

On a rainy night, it offers little or no protection to the commuters waiting for a bus to the outstations. In the absence of any policemen here, the Central Bus Stand can be more dangerous than the alleys of New York.

Coming out of the bus stand is as difficult as getting into it. With the surrounding pavements crowded with vendors selling items as varied as picture post cards, mangoes, plastic giraffes, Santa Claus’ and apples, there is little festivity for the tired office worker carrying bags and essentials who has to walk to the Central Bus Stand.

Questions

Commuters are asking why the authorities have not considered making the roads in and around the Central Bus Stand, why the place has not been properly lit, and why it has not been maintained. Commuters are also asking whether the authorities are that hard up as to not be able to give a good paint job to the Central Bus Stand.

Commuters are also asking why the roads in and around Pettah and the Central Bus Stand have to always be swimming in slush, slime and murky waters and why they have to walk over these muddy areas to get to the bus stand.

Whose responsibility is it? And why are hundreds of commuters and passers-by being put to such inconvenience?

Plain to see

It was only in early May that the gushing waters of Goonesinghepura exposed several young people to grave danger. Open areas as those around the Central Bus Stand ought to be set right in sunshine when the sins of omission are visible to the naked eye.

Obviously, the authorities prefer not to see.

The dirt, degradation and deterioration in the areas around the Central Bus Stand in Pettah and the adjoining Goonesinghepura are all plain to see. The road leading upwards to Hulftsdorp too is a part of the disarray. The adjoining Gas Works Street stinks with rotting vegetables; this area is trying to outbeat the stench with its own uncleared garbage. But all this apparently is no one’s concern.

Time to wake up

It is time the authorities woke up and opened their eyes to take a good look at this hell on earth – a place where hundreds of working people have to pass every morning and evening. What can the office worker do? Where can he complain to and if he does complain, will the authorities truly act on these complaints?

This is why we have to put up with all the shoddiness around; the garbage, the deterioration and the inconveniences that surround us all in a big way.

Where is the development? Where are the promises? Is this how Sri Lanka is going to remain for another 100 years?

If it is not being done now...then when will it be done? These are questions that the ordinary man on the street is asking – for the street has become impossible to walk in.


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 Post subject: Rape on the rise in Pettah bus stand
 Post Posted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 9:31 am 
Rape on the rise in Pettah bus stand

By Hemamala Wickramage
@ Sunday Leader / 27th July, 2003


A22 year old girl from Weeraketiya was raped inside a private bus at the Pettah bus stand on the night of Monday, July 14. The victim, a garment factory worker at a factory in Biyagama, had come to the Pettah bus stand to get a bus to go to Weeraketiya in order to attend a family function.

According to Pettah police she had been waiting at the bus stand for a few hours expecting some friends who had promised to join her on her trip home. The girl has told police that her friends were supposed to finish their work shift and meet her around 8 p.m. Her friends never turned up and she was told by a bus conductor working in a bus on the same Matara Colombo route that the next bus to Matara will be leaving shortly thus, to get in and wait seated.

The girl had got on to the bus and there had been five men seated close to the front footboard. "The driver and the five men (including the one who advised the girl to wait inside seated) on the pretence of refuelling had taken the bus to a deserted area and had raped the girl.

According to Sergeant K.D. Somapala of Pettah police this is not the first instance that rape - one of the most inhumane acts of violence against women - had taken place in and around the area of the Pettah bus stand.

Many other incidents

Recalling another similar incident, Somapala said a young woman was raped by a driver and conductor of an air-conditioned, luxury bus operating on the Nuwara Eliya-Colombo route just a couple of months prior to the latest incident. On another occasion a Tamil woman returning from abroad was raped by a bus driver while she waited inside a parked bus at the CTB bus stand. The bus was due to travel to Batticaloa from Colombo later in the day. According to police sources a 52-year old woman too was raped inside a bus by a conductor at Gunasinghepura bus stand which was scheduled to leave for Kuliyapitiya.

The number of rape cases reported around this area makes one wonder whether the Pettah bus stand indeed is not just a transit point for thousands travelling around the country via Colombo, but also a hunting ground for sexual predators silently waiting for their kill amidst the hustle and bustle.

Women at risk

There are more than five police posts in and around Pettah bus stand with policemen manning them throughout the day. Bastion Mawatha police post, CTB bus stand police post, Gunasinghepura police post and Bo-tree junction police post as well as Weellaweediya police station are all situated in close proximity to the private and CTB bus stands in Pettah. Ironically the latest victim of rape - the garment factory worker from Weeraketiya - got on to the bus inside which she was gang raped just 50 yards away from one of these police posts. After her ordeal the victim had got off the bus and with the help of two three-wheeler drivers had gone to the Pettah police station. The police with the three-wheeler drivers' assistance had pursued the bus which took off at the sight of police officers waiting at the bus owner's house. According to Pettah police sources the bus was seized by police close to IDH in Angoda. Five out of the six alleged perpetrators who were absconding have been arrested and placed in remand custody. All of them have been refused bail.

The bus in which the rape took place is being held at the Pettah police station and the next court hearing is scheduled for August 29.

Police officers at Pettah police station are of the view that women should be more careful when travelling alone - especially at night. "They should make sure that they don't get in to a bus where there aren't any other passengers already in - even if the bus is about to leave. The best thing to do is to speak to police officers at the police posts. What women can do if there aren't any buses to travel at night is to wait near a police post untill a morning bus arrives for them to travel in," said the police officer.


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