FR petition filed seeking to revoke Trinco oil tank farm deal
Posted on January 7th, 2022

Courtesy Adaderana

A fundamental rights (FR) petition has been filed seeking the nullification of the agreement signed with India to develop the Trincomalee Oil Tank Farm.

The petition was lodged before the Supreme Court by the Secretary of National National Bhikkhu Front, Ven. Wakmulle Uditha Thera.

A total of 47 parties including the Attorney General on behalf of the President, the Cabinet of Ministers including Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and its chairman, the Trinco Petroleum Terminal Pvt. Ltd., the Auditor General, Lanka IOC and the Defence Secretary have been named as its respondents.

The petitioner says, pursuant to the Constitution, the Cabinet of Ministers does not have the authority take such decision and that the manner in which the agreement was inked with India is unlawful.

The Cabinet of Ministers has violated the trust the public has placed in the government and has undermined the rule of law through this move.

Accordingly, the petitioner has requested the Supreme Court to issue an order to revoke this ‘arbitrary’ agreement.

He has also called for an investigation into the disputed decision taken by the Cabinet of Ministers.

The petitioner also wants this petition to be taken up before a special bench of the Supreme Court in terms of Article 132(3) of the Constitution.

Sri Lanka and India had inked the agreement in question last evening (January 06).

Sri Lanka’s Treasury Secretary, the Commissioner General of Lands, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), Lanka ICO and the subsidiary company Trinco Petroleum Terminal Pvt. Ltd are among the signatories of the deal, Ada Derana learns.

The Cabinet of Ministers on Monday gave its approval to the proposal tabled by the Minister of Power, for the implementation of Trincomalee Oil Tank Farm development project with India.

Thereby, 61 tanks at the oil storage complex will be jointly developed by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and Lanka IOC as a joint venture.

Lanka IOC is a subsidiary of the Indian Oil Corporation which is under the ownership of India’s Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

A subsidiary company named Trinco Petroleum Terminal Pvt. Ltd. will oversee the joint development of these 61 oil tanks.

According to the government, the CPC will retain 51% of the shares from this joint venture while Lanka IOC holds on to 49%.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet has given its nod to further lease out Lanka IOC-run 14 oil tanks of the Lower Oil Tank Complex to the company for its business activities.

Additionally, 24 oil tanks will be allocated for the business activities of the CPC as approved by the Cabinet.

Sri Lanka and India reached the agreement to implement a project to jointly develop Trincomalee Oil Tank Farm, after reviewing three existing deals between the countries through diplomatic talks.

The two countries agreed to jointly develop and operate the farm, which consists of 99 tanks, over three decades ago but the entire farm was leased to India in 2003 for 35 years and Sri Lanka was unsuccessful in taking part of the farm as a sublease from Indian state-controlled IOC’s subsidiary Lanka IOC (LIOC) in 2017.

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