JSS sees conspiracy behind recent petrol shortage


By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

The UNP’s trade union arm, Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya (JSS), yesterday urged the government to order the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to probe the recent petrol shortage which it said was consequent to a conspiracy.

Welcoming the government’s decision to appoint a committee on the request of the Petroleum Industries Minister Arjuna Ranatunga to probe the fuel issue, JSS Petroleum Corporation branch head Ananda Palitha stressed that in addition to the investigation carried out by the committee a separate investigation should be conducted by the CID at the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminal Ltd. (CPSTL).

Besides, the JSS has suggested that the government allow the trade unions and CPC and CPSTL officers to participate in the probe committee proceedings.

Lashing out at the SLFP trade unions at the CPC, Palitha said the petrol issue had cropped up not because of the rejection of the LIOC’s substandard fuel shipment but because of the failure of CPC officers to ensure a fuel shipment they had ordered arrived on time.

The CPC’s fuel shipment was to be taken delivery of on Nov. 03, he said.

JSS Head Ananda Palitha stressed that as at Oct. 30, there had been over 23, 000 MT in the CPC storage tanks, but the failure to manage the petrol stock was the main issue behind the crisis situation in the country.

The JSS also pointed out that the breakdown of the Sapugaskanda refinery on Oct. 29 and the reduction in the issuance of petrol on Nov. 02 in spite of a long weekend had proved that there had been a conspiracy at the CPC to land the government in to a difficulty.

An SMS claiming there was a petrol shortage and a Facebook post to the same effect had been part of the conspiracy, the JSSā€ˆleader said.

The JSS also noted that neither Petroleum Minister Ranathunga nor LIOC should be held responsible for the petrol crisis but the officers of CPC who did not take measures to control the situation following the rejection of the IOC’s fuel shipment.

A thorough investigation should be conducted, Palitha added.

In a letter addressed to the President and Prime Minister, the JSS has urged the government to hold a CID investigation and to reveal the reports of the subcommittee to the public.

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