SUNDAY OBSERVER Sunday Observer - Magazine
Sunday, 20 July 2003  
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Mihintalava - The Birthplace of Sri Lankan Buddhist Civilization

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Insurance cover for rail, bus commuters

With an alarming rate of accidents involving train and bus commuters, the government has sought the assistance of insurance companies to submit proposals to adequately insure commuters against deaths and injuries.

State Minister for Transport Piyasoma Upali told the Sunday Observer that proposals of the underwriters are expected before the 23rd of this month and once these are received the government will go for the least premium with maximum benefits.

"As it is there are so many schemes under which commuters are insured but obtaining compensation is a tedious process which involves lengthy litigation. We should have a scheme where the affected parties would be compensated without delay," the Minister said.

At the commencement it would cover train and State-run bus services and later the same benefits would be extended to private bus operators, too. The Minister also said that under the proposed scheme employees too would be covered.

Upali also said that at present the maximum compensation payable to affected commuters is a mere Rs. 3,000 which in no way is reasonable. Under the new scheme lump sum payments would be made within a short period depending on the nature of injuries received and a substantial amount in the event of death.

At present private sector bus operators too have several schemes to obtain compensation through insurance cover but commuters are unaware of it and process too is very cumbersome and lengthy that many just disregard it.

Once the government's insurance scheme comes into operation it will be given wide publicity and every commuter would be educated through prominent notices displayed in buses and trains. - SS

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