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Litro embarks on ambitious project to supply pipe-borne gas to Colombo residents



After 149 years since British colonial times

by Suresh Perera

With the core objective of upscaling LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) availability in Sri Lanka, Litro Gas has embarked on an ambitious project to supply households in Colombo with pipe-borne cooking gas.

The move will see a network of gas lines in the metropolis 149 years after the then Colombo Gas & Water Co. pioneered the initiative during British colonial times. Gas was also used to illuminate street lights in Colombo at the time with the floating of the company in 1872.

“We have already given pipe-borne LPG connections to five households in Borella, Colombo 8, under a pilot project”, says Janaka Pathirathna, Director, Sales & Marketing, Litro Gas Lanka.

He said that it will be a step by step process to instal the network in Colombo on a wider basis depending on consumer demand for pipe-borne LPG. “If domestic consumers opt to switch to pipe-borne gas for easy accessibility, our technical teams are at hand to handle the installations swiftly”.

The connections will be given through the installation of a ‘cylinder bank’ with individual flow meters to households to measure the volume of usage in litres in keeping with global standards.”, he explained.

A ‘cylinder bank’ is akin to a transformer that transfers electrical energy from one circuit to another, Pathirathna continued. “Households can gauge their LPG usage and make payment for consumption”.

Asked whether pipe-borne cooking gas cost more than the price of regular domestic cylinders, he replied, “the price per litre is on par as a18-litre hybrid cylinder is sold for Rs. 1,395, which works out to Rs. 77/50 per litre”.

Initially, customers will have to pay a ‘connection fee’ ranging from Rs. 20,000-50,000 depending on usage capacity as pipe-borne LPG can also be used to power generators, heaters, geysers and other such appliances, the director elaborated.

“There will be many product categories and packages offering diverse benefits to customers based on their specific needs under attractive payment methods”.

“It’s similar to opting for a telecommunications fibre connection, where an initial installation fee is applicable”, he pointed out.

He said that the pipe-borne LPG concept is ideal for condominiums, housing schemes and hotels as it ensures a smooth, uninterrupted flow and saves the cost and hassle of replenishing in-house cylinders.

Asked whether the project will be initially restricted to Colombo, Pathirathna outlined that expansion outside the city will happen on a gradual phased out basis taking into consideration consumer demand for the new initiative.

He said that gas pipelines extended from Colombo to Mt. Lavinia at the time the Gas & Water Co. launched the now defunct service. “With the passage of time, we should be able to move out to the suburbs”.

On the risk of gas pipelines in households exploding, he assured that it’s completely safe as there is no big pressure in the system.

Apart from utility services such as water, electricity and telephone links, an underground LPG outlet was also installed at the Colombo Port, he remarked.

Litro Gas Chairman/CEO, Anil Koswatte, stressed that in the global energy landscape, LPG is considered the safest and the most environmentally sound choice suitable for a variety of functions – from household requirements to industrial consumption.

LPG is increasingly emerging as the world’s preferred clean and green energy, he noted.

Although in-house LPG cylinders have been used in Sri Lanka for a considerable period of time, the safest and the most modern option operational worldwide is pipe-borne cooking gas that provides a safe, easy to access and environment friendly solution, he continued.

Introducing pipe-borne LPG is a step towards ensuring the highest safety protocols in LPG supply, while also ensuring an easy and convenient way of delivery to homes or workplaces, Koswatte said in a statement.

“Today, as energy industry dynamics change with consumer demand, the Company remains firmly committed to infusing change and transformation needed to meet changing requirements”.

“We are taking the concept of LPG supply beyond that of bringing a cylinder home and stocking it in the kitchen. This will take the LPG availability to the next level, by giving our customers safe and easy accessibility to the energy they need on demand”, the Chairman stressed.

Litro Gas Lanka’s Director, Health, Safety & Environment/Professional Business, Jayantha Basnayake says LPG supply via a pipeline is the standard procedure for global LPG operations. “We are introducing the same safety and ease of operations procedure to Sri Lanka with this”.

With Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (SLIC) as its major stakeholder, Litro Gas Lanka holds a 75% market share in the LPG business.

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Lift restrictions on 21 June, and be prepared for dire consequences – Medical Specialists



By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Association of Medical Specialists (AMS) President Dr. Lakkumar Fernando yesterday urged the government to reconsider its decision to lift the travel restrictions on 21 June on account of the detection of the Indian or Delta variant of COVID-19 in the country.

Speaking to The Island yesterday, Dr. Fernando said: “The Ex-Co and COVID committee of the AMS met on Thursday before it was announced that the Indian variant had been found in the community, and we decided to ask the government to continue the travel restrictions until 28 June.”

The AMS President added that the detection of the Indian variant from Dematagoda was an alarming development as the Indian variant was more transmissible than the UK variant.

“Reopening the country even after this detection is a very bad idea. We detected the UK variant on 08 April 2021 but we allowed people to celebrate the New Year. I feel that the government is repeating the same mistake,” he said.

Dr. Fernando urged the government to have discussions with a broad section of experts in the coming two days and take a more informed decision as we are likely lose more valuable lives if we are not careful enough in our decision making. “I don’t think the government has sought advice from experts,” he said.

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SLPP will not let disputes with Gammanpila undermine govt.



…will vote against SJB’s no-faith motion

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) yesterday (18) said that whatever the differences the party had with Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU) leader and Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila, it would not undermine President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s government. A senior SLPP spokesperson said so when The Island sought their response to Samagi Jana Balavegaya planning to move a no-faith motion against attorney-at-law Gammanpila over the recent increase in prices of fuel.

The SJB early this week declared its intention to hand over a no-faith motion against Gammanpila to Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena. Already, the JVP and the UNP have questioned the SJB’s exercise.

The SLPP stood solidly with the stand taken by its General Secretary attorney-at-law Sagara Kariyawasam, MP, in respect of Minister Gammanpila, the official said. According to him, SJB’s certain defeat at the forthcoming vote should not be considered an endorsement of the energy minister.

However, the SJB would not be allowed to exploit the dispute between the party and Minister Gammanpila, under any circumstances, party sources said. The SLPP has been in touch with SLPP strategist Basil Rajapaksa, currently in the US, throughout the conflict, sources said.

The SJB’s no-faith motion would be easily defeated, sources said, pointing out that the SLPP group in the government parliamentary group accounted for 115 excluding the Speaker. The SJB parliamentary group comprised 54 members, including seven National List appointees. One of the NL members, Diana Gamage has switched her allegiance to the SLPP.

Sources revealed that on behalf of the SLPP group, the General Secretary of the party, lawmaker Kariyawasam discussed the developments with SLPP leader Premier Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The SLPP group is expected to meet coming Monday (21) to reach consensus on a settlement. Sources said that a no holds barred discussion was with MP Kariyawasam getting an opportunity to explain his stand.

Referring to a statement dated June 12 issued by MP Kariyawasam demanding Minister Gammanpila’s resignation, SLPP underscored the need to set the record straight.

The SLPP General Secretary did not challenge the fuel increase announced by Minister Gammanpila as the party realized the government had no other option, sources said. However, there was no change in the SLPP’s stand in respect of Minister Gammanpila as he did nothing to improve the energy sector coming under his purview, sources said. The SLPP alleged that Minister Gammanpila had done nothing except taking advantage of gullible media.

Responding to another query, sources questioned the rationale in a recent statement issued by eight political parties, affiliated to the SLPP, in support of Minister Gammanpila. Except one political party therein, other parties comprised just one lawmaker each. There were two National List members, too among that eight-member group, sources said, adding that PHU, was represented in parliament by just one MP (Gammanpila.)

Sources said that the SLPP felt that there should be a consensus among the main party and its constituents on major policy decisions. Sources questioned the National Freedom Front (NFF) and the PHU pursuing an agenda inimical to the government. How could they take a different stand on some contentious issues publicly having been members of the cabinet of ministers, sources asked, accusing them of sabotaging key policy decisions.

The SLPP emphasized that the ruling coalition would have to reach a consensus on a common agenda or face catastrophic consequences.

Sources alleged that Weerawansa-Gammanpila led group sabotaged an agreement the incumbent administration worked out with India on the East Container Terminal (ECT) of the Colombo Harbour.

Asked to explain, sources said that the previous Sirisena-Wickremesinghe had finalized agreements in respect of Mattala airport, ECT, remaining tanks at the Trincomnalee oil tank farm and LNG plant at Sampur with India. Following the last presidential election, the incumbent government decided to go ahead with only the ECT project in the Colombo South Harbour.

The SLPP said that the agreement on ECT was certainly not a popular one though it could have helped efforts to revive the national economy. But, Weerawansa-Gammanpila group as usual played politics with the issue at hand and took credit for stopping the project.

Sources said that the country would have faced eternal blackouts if the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa gave into pressure meant to stop Norochcholai coal-fired power plant.


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1,390 more lockdown violators arrested



The police had arrested 1,390 persons who violated lockdown regulations on Thursday (17), Police Spokesman DIG Ajith Rohana said. The bulk of the arrests numbering 172 were made by the Kuliyapitiya Police, 133 by Matale Police and 121 by Kandy Police.

The police have arrested 38,311 people so far for violating quarantine regulations since 30 October 2020.

About 6,797 people were questioned at checkpoints set up at 14 entry and exit points in the Western Province on Thursday and 108 of them were warned and sent back for attempting to cross provincial borders in violation of the current travel restrictions.

Meanwhile, the Police are planning to carry out a special operation during this weekend to arrest those who violate health regulations by increasing mobile patrols, roadblocks and motorcycle patrols, DIG Rohana added.

Drone operations too will be conducted in Colombo and suburban areas to identify individuals who violate lockdown rules and regulations.



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