Route to cover all places of worship within Sacred City for Rs. 50
Service on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Poya Days
A special passenger bus service from the Anuradhapura railway station to the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi was launched from the Anuradhapura Railway Station on a special request made by the Anuradhapura Atamsthanadhipathi, Ven.Pallegama Hemarathana Nayaka Thera from Transport, Highways and Mass Media Minister Dr.Bandula Gunawardhana yesterday.
Accordingly, with the commencement of this bus service, devotees will have the opportunity to travel from the railway station to the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi for Rs.50. The bus is scheduled to run 15 times a day according to a railway-bus integrated timetable system.
The ‘Bo Samindu Vandana’ bus route has been planned to cover all places worship including the Sandahiru Seya, Isurumuniya, Abhayagiriya, Samadhi Statue, Jethawanaramaya, Thuparamaya,
Ruwanweli Maha Seya and Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi from the Anuradhapura railway station.There has been a need for pilgrims and tourists, especially on Poya days and weekends, who come to worship the Anuradhapura sacred city including the Atamasthana without any obstruction at a minimum cost from the railway station to Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi. Private transport facilities including three-wheelers have been there for a long time but it was pointed out a few weeks ago when Atamasthanadhipathi Nayak Thera met the minister that there had been an organized network of harassing pilgrims and tourists by forcing them into their vehicles and charging unbearably high fees. Critical news about this was published through various media and Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardhana had given instructions to the Sri LankaTransport Board officials to start a new bus service from Nikini Poya day.
Speaking on the occasion of launching this bus service, the Minister said; On Nikini Full Moon Poya Day, it is a pleasure to contribute to a special pilgrimage from the historical sacred city of Anuradhapura. With the Mahindagamana, the economic, social, cultural and religious history of this country began to change, with the sacred city of Anuradhapura as the foundation.
The Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi located in Anuradhapura, which is a huge educational center centered on the Maha Vihara and Abhayagiriya, is known as the oldest tree worshipped by the
world’s largest number of people. A large number of people from remote areas of the country and even from foreign countries visit Anuradhapura daily to worship these special religious heritages and shrines including theAtamasthana.
The Nayake Thera of the Atamasthana had informed the heads of institutions and ministers and the heads of the security departments, since a long time about having to incur huge costs for travelling the short distance from the railway station, which is their main means of transport, to sacred areas including the Atamasthana and about the various persecutions and harassments devotees have to face. It is very reasonable to be blamed by the Nayake Thera for not looking into this. I took the responsibility of resuming this train-bus integrated transport service, which had been running for about a decade and had been discontinued, after paying attention to it. As the Minister in charge of Transport and Highways, it is my responsibility, duty and right.
Accordingly, we are happy that this bus service, which will be launched, has been able to provide solutions to a problem that was a big nuisance for the devotees. Accordingly, this joint bus transport service will operate only on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Poya days, and through this, the people who run three-wheelers will also be able to operate without any injustice being done to them.
“In order to rebuild the country, which is facing an economic crisis, we must work to create a public service that will stop theft, fraud and corruption and work with discipline”.
“We fulfill the responsibility of protecting and advocating for the employees as well as state property. I hope that the government employees as well as the local people will get the support of everyone for the work done with a good cause and for public welfare.
Anuradhapura Atamasthanadhipathi, Chief Sanghanayake of Nuwara Kalaviya,Ven.Pallegama Hemarathana Nayake Thera, Ruwanweli Chaityaramadhipathi, Chancellor of the Rajarata University, Venerable Eethalawetunuwewe Gnanathilaka Nayaka Thera, and Maha sangha, former Minister, MP S.M. Chandrasena, former Chief Minister of North Central Province Ranjith Samarakoon,Sri Lanka Transport Board Chief Executive Officer Mahesh Kulathilake, Deputy General Manager (Operations) Panduka Swarnahansa, and officials from the Railway Department as well as a large crowd of people were present on this occasion.