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Trinco oil tank farm: Agreement between Sri Lanka and India remains intact – Indian HC



There is no truth in reports that the understanding between India and Sri Lanka on jointly developing and operating the Upper Tank Farm at Trincomalee has been ‘scrapped’, the Indian High Commission said yesterday in a press release.

This comes a day after Minister of Energy Udaya Gammanpila told reporters in Colombo that the government would reacquire World War-era oil tanks in the eastern city of Trincomalee — which were leased out to an Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) in 2003.

“These reports did not correctly portray remarks made by the Minister of Energy of Sri Lanka at an event on 17 February 2021. As indicated in the Minister’s briefing also, the two governments have consulted each other to explore mutually acceptable modalities for jointly developing and operating the facility in accordance with existing bilateral understandings, including the MoU of 2017,” the HC said.

India looks forward to formal discussions on the matter, and expeditious implementation of their outcome to mutual benefit, the HC said.

The pre-World War 11 era oil storage tanks in Trincomalee would be administered by a State Owned Enterprise and all its activities would be subjected to the state auditing procedures after the government re-acquired the oil tanks from the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Minister of Energy Udaya Gammanpila said on Thursday.

Gammanpila said that after they re-acquired the tanks; the government would decide for how long the SoE would administer them, the agreement between shareholders and how many tanks would be handed over to the CPC.

On Wednesday Minister Gammanpila said that during a discussion with the Indian High Commissioner, the Indians agreed to “leave aside” the terms negotiated by the former Maithripala Sirisena – Ranil Wickremesinghe administration in 2017.

In 2003, Sri Lanka leased out 99 oil tanks to IOC for 35 years, for an annual payment of $1,00,000. Lanka IOC has been using 15 tanks, while the rest await an upgrade for use.

In 2017 on development cooperation, India and Sri Lanka agreed to jointly [with LIOC involvement] refurbish 84 tanks and build related infrastructure in the Trincomalee Port. However, the two sides were unable to carryout project, amid mounting pressure from the oil sector trade unions that sought more control for the state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC).



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SL gets Rs 452 mn for saving ill-fated tanker: Rs. 3.4 bn asked for



By Ifham Nizam and Rathindra Kuruwita

The Marine Enviro-nment Protection Authority (MEPA) yesterday received Rs. 452 million from London for having saved MT New Diamond, a super oil tanker that caught fire in the Sri Lanka’s territorial waters last year.

MEPA General Manager, Dr. P. B. Terney Pradeep Kumara told The Island that Rs. 442 million had come for the services rendered by the Sri Lanka Navy, MEPA and Rs. 10 million by way of a fine imposed on the Ship’s Captain.

However, Sri Lanka has to receive a much larger amount for the damage caused to the marine environment, Dr. Kumara said. Following the incident, Sri Lankan authorities filed charges against the Captain of the ill-fated vessel and made a claim for $2.4 million from the ship’s owners for the firefighting and pollution prevention efforts.

Twenty experts from the Universities of Moratuwa, Ruhuna and Sri Jayewardenepura submitted their recommendations as regards the damage to the environment, to the Attorney General. Based on the report, the Attorney General’s Department had asked for Rs. 3.4 billion (around USD 19 million) as compensation for environmental damage, the Coordinating Officer for the Attorney General, state counsel Nishara Jayaratne said.

Soon they would have discussions with the lawyers of the shipping agent concerned on compensation for environmental damage caused, she said.

Dr. Kumara, who is the former Head of the Department of Oceanography/Marine Geology of the Ruhuna University, said that the incident had caused deaths among marine species due to spillage of some toxic fuel from the vessel.

The MT New Diamond crude oil tanker was transporting 270,000 MT oil from the port of Meena Al Ahmadi in Kuwait to the Port of Paradip in India when a fire broke out in its engine room as the vessel was passing the eastern seas of Sri Lanka on September 3, 2020.

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PSC on gender equality meets for the first time



State Minister, Fernandopulle flanked by two other PSC members

Special attention on microfinance

The Parliamentary Select Committee appointed to further gender equality, to investigate instances of discrimination against women and to present recommendations to Parliament, focused on microfinance loans that are currently affecting a large number of women in Sri Lanka, when they met for the first time in Parliament recently.

The meeting was chaired by the State Minister of Primary Health Care, Epidemics and COVID-19 Disease Control Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle.

It was also revealed that the Cabinet had approved the re-establishment of an institution to regulate Microfinance loans in Sri Lanka.

The MPs also discussed the role of the Select Committee. They decided that the primary role of the Committee should be to investigate women’s grievances and all forms of discrimination based on gender, including workplace violence.

Another task before this committee is to examine and review laws that can be used to enhance gender equality, encourage relevant ministries and authorities to formulate plans to further gender equality and to allocate financial resources.

The Committee will also try to encourage greater women’s representation in decision-making bodies at the national and provincial levels as well as in government, civil society and the private sector.

MPs Rohini Kaviratne, (Dr.) Harini Amarasuriya, M. Udayakumar, S. Sritharan, Rohana Bandara and the Secretary to the Committee, Deputy Secretary General and Chief of Staff of the Parliament Kushani Rohanadheera were also present at the meeting.



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A/L Examination from October 04 to 30



The 2021 GCE Advanced Level examination would be held from October 4 to 30, Education Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris said yesterday addressing the media at his Ministry.

Minister Peiris said the examination was earlier scheduled to be held in August.

The Grade 5 scholarship examination would be held on October 03 and the 2021 GCE Ordinary Level (O/L) examination in the last week of January 2022, the Minister said.

“Usually, schools are open for academic activities for around 200 days a year. But in 2020, schools were open for about 150 days. It was around 130 days in the Western Province. We were not able to fill this gap with online classes due to lack of internet facilities in many parts of the country,” he said.

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