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EXCLUSIVE: Substandard petrol causing havoc

An emergency shipment of petrol which was proven to be below the required standards has caused great financial damage to the public and the government, the Secretary of the Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya stated.

Following several complaints of malfunctioning vehicles in the country, Ananda Palitha of the Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya told Ada Derana that a shipment carrying petrol below the necessary standards for use had come to the Colombo Harbour between June 18 and 20 and had subsequently been distributed for consumption.

He stated that the shipment was brought to Sri Lanka with the approval of the Petroleum Ministry Secretary’s approval following fears of a potential fuel shortage. The decision was also taken while Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) Chairman Harry Jayawardena was out of the country.

Palitha explained that the depleting stock had prompted the calling of tenders for shipments of fuel in order to maintain stocks for the next three months. However, Ministry Secretary Titus Jayawardena had cancelled two of the tenders which had in turn threatened to create a shortage, he said.

The Secretary had then received cabinet approval for an emergency shipment of oil which had allegedly been the cause of the malfunctioning vehicles.

He further stated that apart from the extra cost to the government in terms of shipping charges and harbour fees, leaks in the Sapugaskanda pipelines through which this oil was pumped had caused much wastage due to several leaks. He alleged that it had not been pumped through Muturajawela to avoid detection of its poor quality which was known to the authorities.


He added that the oil had been distributed around the island to CPC and other fuel stations while another 1500 metric tons are still being pumped from the ship.

Furthermore, over 125 pumps in over 50 sheds around the island have been disabled due to the nature of the oil while the anti-rust paint coating in the oil bowsers had heated up while transporting the oil. Upon lab testing the oil was found to be of very low quality which experts tried to remedy by adding certain chemicals into it. However, the 90 octane petrol that has been pumped into vehicles around the island has caused malfunctions within one to two weeks.

The Petroleum Ministry stated that the fuel had been bought from a leading state owned company in the Middle-East of which the quality of fuel had not been a problem.

Petroleum Ministry Secretary Titus Jayawardena stated that upon tests conducted on petrol samples collected from 15 sheds it was shown that only two of the samples had shown signs of low quality.

He said that poor standards of practice at the filling stations could also have been the reason for these vehicular malfunctions while adding that if it had been a problem with the fuel, many more complaints should have been made.

Many vehicle manufacturers have also complained that brand new vehicles which had been purchased were returned to the company upon malfunction.

Mr. Jayawardena stated that complaints had only been made by owners of trishaws and motorcycles while it was yet to be proven that the petrol was harmful to other vehicles.


Posted on Thursday, June 30, 2011 @ 11:44:24 LKT


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