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Energy Minister claims successful conclusion of discussions with Indians



Trinco Bunkering now given to IOC – FSP

Trinco oil tank farm


By Rathindra Kuruwita

Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila yesterday said that discussions with India on regaining the control of the Trincomalee oil tank farm had concluded successfully and that 14 oil tanks in the Trincomalee oil tank farm would be leased to the LIOC for another 50 years. Gammanpila added that LIOC had been controlling the tank farm since 2003.

Twenty four oil tanks would be given to CPC and the remaining 61 managed by Trinco Petroleum Terminals Ltd., a joint venture between LIOC and CPC, Gammanpila said.

“We have regained control of the Trinco oil tank farm. This is a historic victory. Trinco Petroleum Terminals Ltd. will be run by us. COPE and Parliament has control over it,” he said.

However, the Education Secretary of the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP), Pubudu Jayagoda said that the government had agreed to sell the bunkering operations at Trincomalee to IOC. The government was to sign two agreements with India, he said.

“One is the agreement to hand over to India 14 oil tanks that the IOC is using, the pipelines used to carry fuel and the bunkering operation. IOC will get these infrastructure for 50 years, and the government will lose a lot of foreign revenue as it loses the bunkering operation,” he said.

According to Jayagoda, the second agreement will be on the establishment of Trinco Petroleum Terminals Ltd., a joint venture between LIOC and CPC. Commenting on Minister Gammanpila’s claim that most of the Directors of the Company would be appointed by CPC and that 51% of shares would be owned by the CPC, Jayagoda said that the agreement was similar to the one signed with New Fortress Energy.

“We only sold 40% of the Kerawalapitiya Power Plant shares to New Fortress Energy, but they still control the entire operational aspect of the power plant. Likewise, although IOC only owns 49% of Trinco Petroleum Terminals, they are in charge of the operations. We have given them the best tanks, situated at the lower levels of the tank farm, and the pipelines that transports oil. So they are in control of the tank farm,” he said.

The FSP Education Secretary also asked whether Minister Gammanpila would reveal the specifics of the 24 tanks that have been earmarked for CPC. There were about 20 tanks that couldn’t be used and it was likely that those tanks will be given back to the CPC, he said.

“Minister Gammanpila says that these agreements are a great victory because the Sri Lankan flag will be displayed in the tank farm. This is akin to selling your house because you have no money, and claim that the new owners have agreed to display the portrait of your grandmother in the living room. We have agreed to sign a disastrous agreement with India because of our forex crisis and soon they will have a land at a strategic location in the country,” he said.

Jayagoda also alleged that the Minister had also made a number of false statements about the previous agreements on the tank farm. Despite the Minister’s claims, there was no formal agreement to hand over 14 tanks to India in 2003, he said. An MoU was signed and but a formal agreement was never executed.

“So, IOC was holding these tanks illegally. However, when this agreement is signed it will formally have these tanks. The Minister also claims that the 1987 Indo-Sri Lanka accord earmarked these tanks for Indian use. However, the agreement only states that if we develop these tanks with a foreign partner that partner will have to be India. So Gammanpila is bending facts,” he said.

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Canadian declaration of ‘Tamil genocide’ may influence European parliaments, EU – Maj. Gen. (retd.) Gallage



‘Counter lies, or face consequences’

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Retired Maj. Gen. Chagie Gallage says controversial Canadian House of Commons declaration that Tamil genocide took place in Sri Lanka may influence many Western parliaments as well as the EU.

The Gajaba Regiment war veteran said that the recognition of 18th May, the day Sri Lanka defeated terrorism as Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day was an affront to Sri Lanka.

The ex-combat officer said that the government owed an explanation without delay. Perhaps, Sri Lanka parliament should remind Canada of deaths of hundreds of native residential school students, who had been literally snatched from their families, the retired officer said, adding that it would be interesting to see whether any political parties, civil society groups or those who issue statements against Sri Lanka at the drop of a hat would question the Canada’s gruesome past. So far unmarked graves of more than 1000 native children have been found on the grounds of such schools run till the mid-1990s, the retired Major General said.

Liberal MP Gary Anandasangaree, son of veteran Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) leader V. Anandasangaree presented the motion on Wednesday (18). “Canada becomes the first national parliament in the world to recognize May 18th of each year as Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day,” tweeted, Anandasangree, the MP for Scarborough-Rouge Park.

The motion states that “this House acknowledges the Genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka, and recognizes May 18th of each year as Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day”.

The House of Commons unanimously accepted the motion.

Gallage alleged that Sri Lanka lacked political will to counter the campaign against the country. Acknowledging the current political-fiscal -social crisis caused by decades of economic mismanagement, he warned that the Canadian declaration would have disastrous consequences. Would the government care to examine how interested parties could exploit the Canadian condemnation of Sri Lanka? Gallage asked.

Sri Lanka brought the war to a successful conclusion in the third week of May 2009.

Gallage questioned the responsibility on the part of the Defence and Foreign Affairs Ministries for Sri Lanka’s failure to meet the challenge.

Anandasangaree brought forward the motion on the 13th anniversary of the annihilation of the LTTE fighting cadre at Mullivaikkal.

Retired Maj. Gen. said that those who had failed to throw a lifeline to the LTTE as the military brought the war to a rapid conclusion worked overtime for the realization of the Canadian project.

Responding to another query, Gallage said that declaration of May 18 as Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day should be examined against the backdrop of Sri Lanka co-sponsoring an accountability resolution against itself at the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in early Oct. 2015 under the yahapalana regime.

Gallage recalled how Australia denied him a visa during yahapalana administration though there hadn’t been specific war crimes allegations against him. Australia also found fault with Gallage for being in command of the 59 Division from May 7, 2009 to July 20, 2009.

Established in Jan, 2008, the 59 Division, deployed on the eastern flank aka the Weli Oya front, fought under the then Brig. Nandana Udawatte’s command for one year to cross the Anandakulam and Nagacholai forest reserves, which served as natural defences for the LTTE Mullaitivu stronghold.

Maj. Gen. Gallage said that the Parliament should respond to the Canadian House of Commons declaration on Tamil genocide. The former senior officer who was always in the thick of combat reiterated that unless tangible action was taken immediately the Canadian motion would cause irreparable damage. The Tamil Diaspora would exploit their success with Canadian political parties to pressure other countries, Gallage said, the coming Geneva sessions would be quite a challenge.

He urged the current military top brass to make representations to the government as regards the damning unfair Canadian indictment of Sri Lanka. “We should ask Canada to share with us information on the basis its Parliament reached conclusion that genocide took place here. The very basis of their declaration is questionable,” Gallage said, adding that Sri Lanka should officially inform Canada of the Indian intervention that led to the deaths of thousands, both before and after the deployment of the Indian Army (1987-1990), killing of one-time Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi by an LTTE female suicide cadre and the sea borne attempt to assassinate the Maldivian President in 1989. “We should set the record straight. We should use wartime British High Commission cables now in the public domain to counter lies,” the Gajaba Regiment veteran said.

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Some MPs seek hotel accommodation to attend parliament



Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena told Parliament yesterday that a group of MPs had requested that they be provided hotel accommodations for them to attend Parliament sittings.

Speaker Abeywardena said that the request had been made due to the prevailing fuel crisis.

The Speaker said that some MPs who travelled from outstations were unable to return home due to the fuel shortage.

“Therefore, they have requested me to book a hotel for them to stay in Colombo to attend Parliament proceedings,” he said.

The Speaker’s clarification came as reports of MPs being provided fuel at a subsidised rate were raised in Parliament yesterday.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that fuel had not been given at subsidised rates to any MP.

Many government MPs also lost life possessions as their houses were looted and torched by marauding mobs early last week.

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Elder brother says MR should have known when to quit politics



SLPP MP and former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa told Parliament yesterday that his younger brother former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa should have retired from politics after concluding his second term as President.

“Nearly 50 years of his outstanding political achievements and journey have been lost at present,” he said.

“If we become greedy for power and positions then we face such consequences as we see today,” he said.

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