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Private tanker owners warn of derailing fuel distribution operations



If their new cost calculation price formula is not granted

by Suresh Perera

Private tanker (bowser) owners have threatened to cripple the distribution of fuel island-wide this week if they are not granted an increase in the cost calculation price per kilometer taking into consideration the recent fuel hike plus other related factors.

“We will pull out if there’s no response to the new price formula we have already submitted as we have to incur mounting financial losses in continuing to distribute fuel”, warned D. V. Shantha Silva, Joint Secretary of the Sri Lanka Petroleum Private Tanker Owners’ Association (SLPPTOA).

With the price of diesel pushed up by seven rupees per litre, there should be a sense of justice as tanker owners are taking a big hit in pushing ahead with fuel distribution operations across the country, he explained.

He said the new price formula was submitted by the SLPPTOA to the Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminals Limited (CPSTL) and the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CEYPETCO), but there has been no favorable response so far.

“Apart from the enhanced cost of diesel, most tanker owners have monthly lease commitments to financial institutions. Under the circumstances, how can they continue to operate at a loss?”, he asked.

“We discussed the issue with Energy Minister, Udaya Gammanpila as well, but though he agreed in principle that the demand for an upward revision of the cost calculation price was reasonable, officials continue to drag their feet”, Silva complained.

“We will not report for duty this week if there’s no positive outcome as tanker owners can no longer absorb the losses and stay afloat”, he said.

With 800 tankers, the bulk of petrol, diesel and kerosene consignments are distributed countrywide by private operators as the CPC owns only a marginal 60 fuel carriers, Silva said. “We handle 90% of the distribution to filling stations in the country”.

Even where fuel is transported by rail to storage depots in provincial areas, the distribution to filling stations is undertaken by private tankers, the Joint Secretary elaborated.

In terms of the new pricing formula, the SLPPTOA has sought an enhanced Rs. 195/65 per kilometer for a 13,200 litre tanker, Rs. 269/28 for a 19,800 litre tanker and Rs. 356/01 for a 3,300 litre tanker.

The price per kilometer has been calculated by factoring in all inherent costs relating to fuel, servicing, depreciation, insurance license and bank guarantee, salaries, tyres and tubes, battery, running repairs and calibration.

“We have been seeking an increase to meet the enhanced running costs over the past three months and submitted three appeals in March and April this year, but to no avail. However, with the recent fuel price hike, we submitted a fresh cost calculation formula on June 14”, Silva said.

“The mark-up in the new pricing formula submitted by the private tanker owners is unrealistic”, a senior official asserted.

“If that’s the position, they can call us for a discussion to sort it out without remaining mum on our proposal”, Silva noted.

“We have decided to keep away from work if there’s no solution forthcoming”, he warned.

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MP’s wife, father-in-law among three detained



Rishad held under PTA to be questioned

16-year-old girl’s death:

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Police investigating the death of 16-year-old Ishalini, the domestic servant at All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) leader Rishad Bathiudeen’s Baudhaloka Mawatha residence have arrested Ayesha Shiabdeen, 46, the wife of the former minister.

Police also took into custody Rishad’s father-in-law Mohammed Shiabdeen, 70, and Ponnaiah Pandaram alias Shankar, 64, a resident of Dayagama.

Police Spokesman Senior DIG Ajith Rohana said that Shankar had brought Ilashini from Dayagama to the Baudhaloka Mawatha residence of Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) Vanni District lawmaker late last year.

Having studied the post postmortem report, they were taken into custody in terms of Section 360 C and Section 308 B of the Penal Code that dealt with human trafficking and cruelty to children, the top police officer said. According to him, so far 20 statements had been recorded.

Asked whether MP Bathiudeen, too, had been among the questioned, Senior DIG Rohana said the parliamentarian detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) over 2019 Easter Sunday carnage, too, would be interrogated in that regard.

The ACMC contested the last general election on the SJB ticket. It switched its allegiance to the SJB ahead of 2020 general election after having represented the cabinet in UNP led yahapalana administration. Rishad has also served President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s cabinet during his second term.

Having suffered serious burn injuries on July 3 at the MP’s residence and admitted to the National Hospital, Illashini succumbed to her injuries on July 15th. Medical examination revealed that she had been raped over a period of time.

The police spokesman said that they intended to secure court approval to detain the suspects for 72 hours. A Superintendent of Police could obtain such approval on the strength of a B report submitted to the court in respect of offenses on children.

Although, the police indicated earlier in the day they would be produced in Colombo Magistrate court they weren’t brought in.

Meanwhile, the SJB said that interested parties were making a despicable attempt to politicize the incident. The police should be allowed to conduct the investigation without interference, a spokesman for the main Opposition party said.


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Women’s organisations in North conduct protests demanding justice for Ilashini



A section of those engaged in Jaffna protests


By Dinasena Ratugamage

Women’s organisations in the North yesterday held a number of demonstrations in Vavuniya, Mannar, Kilinochchi and Jaffna against the death of J. Ilashini, the 16 -year-old girl who died while working at SJB MP Rishad Bathiudeen’s residence.

The protesters urged authorities to ensure that investigations into the death are conducted in a transparent manner. The family of the victim should be compensated and those guilty punished, they said.

Representatives of the organisations said that if justice was not done, they would hold a massive demonstration in Tarapuram, Mannar, which Bathiudeen represents in Parliament.

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Dancer lodges complaint with police over FB post 



Police headquarters yesterday (23) said that dancer Anusha Damayanthi had lodged a complaint with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) over a Facebook post alleging that she was running a brothel.

Police headquarters said that Damayanthi, while denying the accusation, had also brought to the CID’s notice that a minister was being accused of lambasting the Walana anti-crime strike force for carrying out the raid. Police said that an investigation was underway.

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