Arjuna: CPC suffered huge loss due to strike, damage


By Ajith Alahakoon and Akitha Perera

Petroleum Resources Development Minister Arjuna Ranatunga told Parliament yesterday that the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) had incurred huge losses suffered and damages owing to the strike by its workers over the past few days.

Ranatunga said he would furnish a report in that regard to the House shortly.

Participating in the debate on the Gazette Extraordinary issued by the President declaring supply and distribution of fuel as an essential public service, the Minister said: "We issued the Gazette because we saw how the public was inconvenienced due to the trade union action. The government is grappling with many issues such as the garbage disposal and dengue epidemic at the same time. Had the oil crisis continued any longer, the country would have been crippled. We are ready for discussions at any moment and at the same time we won’t hesitate to take swift action if public is inconvenienced."

The Minister said he was against ‘privatisation’, however pointed out a joint investment was necessary to develop certain sectors. "Keep aside your political differences when you are dealing with these matters. The petroleum strike could have been called off earlier, but some TU leaders are acting as cat’s paw of certain rejected politicians did not allow that to happen."

"The Hambantota oil tanks are not under the CPC, but under the Ports Authority. With joint investment in them we can yield optimal results. I tried to explain this to the trade unions. Some political figures with no vote base did not listen to me. Carrying out ministerial duties is not like betting and gaming. When I was holding the Port and Shipping Ministry I intervened to get that agreement amended."

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