Minister stops payment for low quality petrol
Petroleum Industries Minister Susill Premajayantha yesterday suspended payment for the 20,000 metric tonnes of allegedly contaminated petrol imported from Dubai last month.
The consignment of 90 octane petrol worth US$11.5 million or Rs.1.17 billion was imported from the Emirates National Oil Company in Dubai to prevent a possible fuel shortage after a 10-day breakdown at the Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery (SOR).
“I suspended the payments for the consignment and appointed a three-member committee headed by Power and Energy Ministry Secretary M.M.C. Ferdinando to investigate the deal and report back to me,” Minister Premajayantha said.
The committee comprises Ceylon Petroleum Corporation Marketing Manager Chaminda Samarakone and former SOR deputy General Manager Piyasena Ekanayake.
“The consignment was ordered by the Cabinet Appointed Tender Board (CATB) as usual but had not obtained cabinet
approval. The spot purchase by the CATB was carried out as an emergency purchase to off set the looming petrol shortage because of the break- down at Sapugaskanda refinery,” he said.
The CATB was compelled to purchase this particular consignment from another source as the CPC’s regular supplier from India, who supplies about 70% of our fuel requirements, had increased the premium when they realized there was an emergency.
The minister said the storage tanks at filling stations had finished their petrol by the time the new stocks arrived from Dubai and the petrol might have been mixed up with the sludge in the empty tank resulting in the low quality of the petrol.
“However, if I find any official at the ministry or at the CPC had involved in anything suspicious in connection with the import and distribution of the controversial consignment, I will not hesitate to take strict disciplinary action against them,” the minister said.
He said filling stations pumps which were damaged would be repaired by the CPC free of charge and added that fresh stocks of petrol would be supplied to all filling stations.
Meanwhile, the CPC had requested motorists to inform them about engine defects that had been caused by the low quality petrol.
It said complaints could be made on — 011 5666328, 011 5665082 and 011 5664941.
Engine stoppage: Hotline numbers out of order, says Ravi
By Yohan Perera
UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake yesterday charged that the telephone numbers issued by the Petroleum Industries Ministry for the general public to make complaints with regard to Engine stoppage: sudden engine stoppages of vehicles were out of order.
Mr. Karunanayake told Daily Mirror that he him-self had dialled one number but no one had answered it.
He said one car owner had to spend R. 200,000 to get his vehicle repaired which went out of order after filling with the controversial fuel.
Mr. Karunanayake questioned as to why the government always dismissed the allegations made by the opposition.
“The government initially dismisses the allegations but apparently ends up accepting them,” he said recalling this was similar to the the case with regards the hedging deal also.
He also questioned as to what would happen if inferior fuel were filled to the aircraft in the form of aviation fuel.
However a spokesman from the CPC said they have received one or two complaints on the hotline numbers given to the general public.
He said the complaints were referred to the relevant persons who were attending to them.
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