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CID to probe false information about fuel shortage

The Petroleum Resources Development Ministry has requested the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to immediately launch an investigation regarding false information being spread about fuel shortage.

Minister Arjuna Ranatunga urged the public not to panic due to rumours and assure that there is no fuel shortage in the country.

Addressing the media at the CEYPETCO yesterday, headquarters, Minister Ranatunga said that three fuel shipments are to arrive in next two weeks.

The Minister said he had informed the President that an investigation needs to be immediately conducted.

“Measures have been taken to check the quality of fuel before it reaches Sri Lanka. There is no need to panic, there is enough fuel available in the country”, he said.

He said that spreading false information could be a conspiracy lead by anti-government groups aimed at the forthcoming Local Government elections.

“I will inform the public if there is any shortage of fuel. I will not hide behind anyone,”he said.

Minister Ranatunga further said some fuel stations had refused to dispatch oil, having enough storage and added that necessary action will be taken against those fuel station owners.

In the meantime, the Minister added that they were all private fuel stations and if needed their license will also be cancelled.

He said a fuel mafia has been functioning for the past 10 years and added that he is not afraid to take any action.

When questioned about building fuel tanks, Minister Ranatunga said measures to build tanks will be taken in two weeks following the cabinet approval.

He said that 8 years ago Cabinet approval was given to build tanks but no initiatives were taken by the then government.

The Minister added that the Cabinet Sub- Committee appointed to look into the previous fuel shortage issue also suggested building more fuel tanks.

He said decisions with regard to fuel tanks in Trincomalee oil tanks cannot be discussed as there is a court case pending and added that tanks are needed for the Kolonnawa, Muthurajawala and Sapugaskanda oil refineries.

Responding to a question raised by a journalist that owners of the fuel bowsers had requested to increase the amount being paid to them, the Minister said that the owners have requested and would look into that when the right time comes.

He said that it is cheaper to transport fuel in train than in bowsers.

The Minister said before all the bowsers belonged to the CEYPETCO but now private involvement is very high.