Token system out, fuel only for ‘essentials’

  • Cabinet decides to issue diesel and petrol only for essential services

    Kanchana’s plan to issue tokens for fuel distribution stillborn

Despite Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera announcing that a token system to distribute fuel would be introduced from yesterday (27), Minister of Transport, Highways, and Mass Media, and Cabinet Spokesman Bandula Gunawardena said last night that the remaining fuel stocks in the country will be dispensed only to vehicles attached to essential services with effect from today (28) onwards until 10 July.

He revealed this at a special media briefing held to announce the decisions taken at the latest meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers.

Accordingly, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) will henceforth supply diesel and petrol only to essential service providers such as those working in the ports, health sector, distribution of essential food items, and transportation of agricultural products, Gunawardena noted.

The Cabinet of Ministers decided to continue essential services and suspend other operations until 10 July, Gunawardena said. He went on to assure the public that a mechanism to provide a continuous supply of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and fuel would be in place after 10 July.

Inter-provincial transport services will be temporarily halted due to the limited availability of fuel, Gunawardena added.

Meanwhile, school principals and provincial education authorities have been given permission to decide on how lessons are delivered to the students amidst this crisis situation.

These announcements came just one day after Minister Wijesekera said that a token system to distribute fuel would be introduced from yesterday (27), where people would be issued tokens based on their position in the fuel queues.

Speaking during a press briefing in Colombo, he had said the decision was taken at a meeting of the Security Council chaired by the President and the Prime Minister last Saturday (25).

“The Security Council had met on the instructions of the President and the Prime Minister. Accordingly, they decided that if there are people queuing up at filling stations, the security forces including the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Police will be deployed at every filling station to give everyone in the queues a token in the order they are queuing up,” he said.

He therefore requested the public not to queue up for fuel in the next couple of days until the matter is managed in the coming days.

“I know the pain. I know the pressure and the anger. It could be against me or the Government, the Ministry, the President, or the Prime Minister, but I urge you not to line up at petrol stations in the next few days. You can get the token and go home,” he had said.

The Minister had thus requested the public not to wait in queues at filling stations until the next fuel shipment arrived, as the stocks of fuel held by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) were being distributed only for essential purposes.

He had further stated at the time that the exact date of arrival of the next fuel shipment could not be confirmed.