Petroleum Resources Development Minister Arjuna Ranatunga assured that there is no shortage of petrol and the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) is in the possession of adequate fuel quantities.
Speaking at a media briefing Monday, the Minister requested the people not to fall victim to false rumors.
Extremely long queues were seen at fuel stations from yesterday evening beginning from Kandy. However, the Minister said adequate stock of petrol are available in the regional storages of CPC as well.
“I say with responsibility that we have required amounts of fuel petrol, diesel and jet A-1. In the next two weeks, three more ships are to arrive in the country. There is no need for an unnecessary panic,” he said.
Speaking further, the Minister said that the price of petrol is 2,500 metric tons per day. At present, 3,500 – 4,000 metric tons of petrol are being distributed per day.
He said that if there were some problems or shortage of fuel he will inform the public to use fuel sparingly but there is no such shortage now,
The Minister said a complaint was lodge with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Monday to carry out an investigation into the false rumors being spread about a fuel shortage around the country to create chaos and arrest the people who spread these rumors.
Top officials of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation have lodged this complaint today, the Minister said.
The Minister said he had requested the President to enable an investigation also. He said the CPC’s emergency raid unit has identified that some fuel stations do not distribute fuel even when there is fuel n their storage and such fuel stations will be taken over by the corporation.
He said some fuel stations return the petrol bowsers saying that they have enough fuel and the CPC had reports of some stations refusing customers claiming that they are out of fuel while they have sufficient quantities in the storage.
The Minister said he has called for a report on such fuel stations and will take action to take over those.
“No matter who the owners of those filling stations are, I will take tough action about such fuel stations in the future.”
Today there is a mafia in this oil business. For the past 10 years, before our government came in only one group brought oil. We changed that monopoly to get that money otherwise going to them to the corporation and the public,” he explained.
The Minister said several proposals are being mooted regarding the import and distribution of fuel.
A program has been launched to obtain a sampling of the oil at the loading harbor, especially when fuel is loaded to the foreign vessel, and brought to the country for testing so that there is no need to wait for the ship to arrive to test the load.
If the sample is found to be unsatisfactory, then we have the ability to go for other options, he said.
“We also expect to construct more oil storage tanks in the future and a cabinet paper regarding the proposal will be submitted next week,” the Minister said.