Nov 17, Colombo: : The Minister of Tourism Prasanna Ranatunga has instructed the Director General of the Tourism Development Authority, Dhammika Wijesinghe, to complete the payment of the Rs. 15,000 allowance provided by the government to 3,085 tourist drivers affected by the COVID-19 epidemic within this week.
Cabinet approval has been granted to pay a one-time allowance of Rs. 15,000 each to drivers registered with the Tourism Development Authority and the government has allocated Rs. 46.3 million for this allowance.
Payment of this allowance has been continuously delayed due to the fact that most of the drivers who are said to be registered with the Tourism Development Authority have not been properly registered or waiting for approval and the Minister paid special attention to this and instructed the Director General to expedite the registration of the drivers who were not registered in such a manner.
When inquired about this, the Director General of the Tourism Development Authority Dhammika Wijesinghe stated that out of 4,313 applications received by the Tourism Development Authority, an allowance of Rs. 15,000 will be given to 3,085 eligible drivers this week.
Among them are 1,823 full-time tour drivers, 45 tour bus drivers and 45 assistants, 658 three-wheeler drivers and 559 safari drivers.
Ms. Wijesinghe said that 359 untrained drivers of the Tourism Development Authority have also applied for the post and have been referred for registration.
In addition, 1,998 tour guides who had applied for the allowance of Rs. 20,000 have already been paid, the Director General said.