CPC’s Colombo sheds to issue max 10 diesel litres per customer
- Energy Minister issues instructions to fuel stations
- Claims people buying fuel to sell at higher price
Amidst a heavy fuel shortage reported from around the island yesterday (17), with long queues of customers waiting for several hours to obtain both petrol and diesel, Energy Minister Gamini Lokuge has instructed the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) to issue a maximum of 10 litres of diesel per customer at CPC fuel filling stations.
“While there are fuel lines, a new business has started. People are taking fuel in cans and selling at a higher price. We are hoping to put laws to stop that soon but for now, we have told our (CPC) area managers in the Colombo District to not sell more than 10 litres of diesel per customer. If they need more, they must bring a letter from their place of employment,” said Lokuge speaking to the media yesterday.
Commenting on the closure of some sheds due to a lack of fuel, Lokuge claimed those were the sheds that had “bathed in fuel”. “If you look anywhere, it’s more barrels than vehicles at the sheds.”
He further assured that despite the petrol shortage in the past few days, petrol was being distributed yesterday.
“There was a distribution problem from Tuesday (15). However, by noon today (17), I believe two tankers of fuel would be given to all sheds in Colombo. In addition to the distribution problem, the fuel stocks which are usually unloaded to the Kolonnawa refinery were unloaded to the Muthurajawela one. When it is unloaded at Muthurajawela, the transfer cannot happen through pipes,” said Lokuge yesterday.
Fuel shortages due to the foreign exchange crisis have heavily impacted the Sri Lankan public, leaving them in lengthy fuel lines for several hours per day. Yesterday, long queues were seen for both petrol and diesel, with some fuel pumping stations remaining closed, after having run out of stocks. Customers were outside stations from the very early hours of the morning, with two queues seen at almost every station, one for petrol and another for diesel. Reports show minor scuffles breaking out between shed employees and customers, and sometimes even amongst the customers themselves.
The Sri Lanka Petroleum Private Tanker Owners’ Association halted their distribution from Tuesday midnight, demanding an increase in the charges for fuel transport. Following discussions with the Energy Ministry on Wednesday (16), they called off their strike and resumed operations.
Last week, Energy Ministry Secretary K.D.R. Olga said that by the end of March, the country is due to have received a total of 177,200 metric tonnes (MT) of diesel. Ships have docked at the Colombo Port for the last few months for several days on end, as the Government faced difficulties in opening letters of credit to release them. Lokuge noted yesterday that only one such ship was remaining at the moment and that they were hoping to unload it yesterday.