Hon Minister of Energy Udaya Gammanpila, stated that maintaining a fixed fuel price amidst the fluctuating world oil prices is the policy of the new government.
The Minister stated this at the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Energy in response to a concern raised by Member of Parliament Wasantha Yapabandara regarding the approaches to alternative sources of energy given that the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation has been continuously loss making despite the regime in governance.
Elaborating on the above, the Minister stated that constantly fluctuating fuel prices are largely felt by those who rely heavily on public transport and therefore it has been decided to maintain a fixed fuel price and that they are looking at the establishment of a stabilization fund by studying contemporary market trends.
Member of Parliament Udayana Kirindigoda expressing his views pointed out that petroleum was previously transported by rail which resulted in the development of storage facilities near railway stations such as Peradeniya. However, he emphasized that given that petroleum is being transported via bowsers at present, traffic congestion has risen and resources are not being utilized properly.
Acknowledging the aforesaid, the Minister of Energy Udaya Gammanpila stated that in addition to heavy congestion and the underutilization of resources, it is also costly and contribute largely towards environmental pollution. He said that at present 35% of the fuel is transported by rail and 65% by bowsers and that he wishes to increase transportation of petroleum via rail by 60% whilst maintaining the balance between the distribution of petroleum by the modes of both bowser and rail.
Furthermore, Member of Parliament Chandima Weerakkody brought to light an issue risen due to corporate mishap in the Petroleum Public Storage Terminal where a group of
employees have not been made permanent unjustly. Accordingly, MP Chandima Weerakkody requested the Minister and the relevant authorities to do justice to the employees in distress as a result. The Minister of Energy Udaya Gammanpila stated that the matter will be taken into discussion and will be promptly looked into in his response.
MPs Gunathilaka Rajapaksha, Wasantha Yapabandara, Udayana Kirindigoda, Chandima Weerakkody, K. Dhileeban, Shantha Bandara, Charles Nirmalanathan, Niroshan Perera, Janaka Wakkumbura and officials representing the Ministry were present at the meeting.