Cabinet has approved to buy 40,000 metric tons of diesel and 40,000 metric tons of Petrol from the Indian Oil Corporation and the Agreement is signed bypassing the CPC
Posted on February 8th, 2022

Dr Sudath Gunasekara

The first question I ask the Minister in charge of the Electricity Board is as to why he skipped the CPC and went to the IOC for   such a large volume of fuel from a foreign Agency that will drains millions of Foreign Exchange? I know he will say the CPC refused my request?

Now that already the Government has been compelled to sign an agreement with the IOC to purchase all the fuel required by the CEB, I wonder whether this is the next step in handing over Trinco Oil Tank Farm A Marvel in the East’ (as one writer has described it) and the Trico Harbour, including 85 acres of land adjoining the second best natural harbour in the world and the best in the East,  to India, the much awaited Dream by India for more than the past 50 years.

 Dravida Munnetra Kasagam also once agitated to annex it, to India as their future Port of EELAM. In that backdrop now I suspect this this deal as a part of a subversive agenda on the part of India to get a tighter grip of this Island nations security and the economy to defeat all attempts by India’s arch rival China and USA currently in tow with India on Indo-Pacific Quadrilateral Program, (that could disappear at any moment the USA finds a better ally in the region than India or the Indian interests overtake those of the USA. A tighter legal hold on Trinco will be a geopolitical asset to India to control not only Sri Lanka but also the entire Indo pacific region from a strategic angle. India’s strength here might definitely paralyze the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and political independence of this Island nation, in view of it’s focal importance on the great East West naval route. It is in this backdrop and long- term security and economic concerns of this Island nation one has to look at both these deals and not from the point of view of short- term implied benefits.

To me both these agreements by the Sri Lankan government are extremely short-sighted political and economic bungles that lack political and strategic wisdom and maturity or far sightedness. It reminds me the story about chopping a goat’s neck to save the pot that we have learnt in grade 11 in the village school. I can understand the stands of the two respective Ministers, each driven by the urge to overdo the other arguing for his case. But surely what the others including the Defense and Trade Minister were doing. Well even if the whole Cabinet gave its nod why the Prime Minister, the senior elder statesman or the President the Head of the Cabinet and the State brought their concerns to these imminent serious long- term economic, security and geopolitical implications and asked the two Ministers to settle it among them as an internal issue by asking the Electricity Minister to first, settle the 97 million bills with the CPC. That would have settled the problem and the CPC would have then supplied the fuel required.

However now that the government has got caught in the   trap let us wait and see as to how they will come out of it. It is said that there are hundreds of Advisers to the Ministries, the Prime Minister and the President, led by a Chief Advisor. What the hell they had being doing when the government is getting trapped like this. Were they sleeping or just planting the stake to save their positions? In this scenario I think not only the Cabinet but also all these Royal Advisors are responsible to the nation for all the future repercussions that will befall the nation on account of these two disastrous Agreements.

As I see it as a layman, both these agreements are the clever manipulations of the Indian Kautilyan bureaucracy. They first signed the Trinco Oil Farm Agreement and put the first noose. Then they agreed to give US $ 500 Million swap as aid to help Sri Lanka to meet its Dollar crisis. But they were very careful to tie up that 500 m with the purchase of fuel from India too. Third the IOC agreed to provide fuel to CEB, which they refused at first, and set off the bills against that US$ 500 million swap. The money is Indian, fuel too is Indian, IOC Indian and finally the profit with interest for the loan as well as the fuel is back to the Indian coffers. See how nicely and cleverly they have manipulated it and how our entire Cabinet and the bureaucracy have been caught up in the Indian trap with all their pants down, with hardly any future chances of lifting them up? What a disgrace to the dignity and the wisdom of the entire Cabinet of the first country in Asia to get universal franchise that was once decorated with men and women of the calibre like DS, S.W.R.D. Kannangara, Sirima, NM, Philip. Colvin, T.B,Ilanagaratna,   Felix, JR and Lalith and Luxman Kadiragaama.

Why did the energy Ministry bypassed the CPC to purchase fuel from the IOC

Isn’t this surprising and shocking and extremely dangerous that the Energy Ministry has decided to bypass the CPC and has decided to purchase its fuel requirements from the IOC an Indian agency.  I can’t understand why the Cabinet has given its nod without studying the pros and cons of this deal,  including economic losses and geopolitical and strategic concerns to the country and its serious long-term implications down the Kautilyan line. Why can’t the Ministry of Energy buy this from CPC? So that the profit will accrue to this country, instead of it going to India and draining the total 500 m US$ credit facility given by India back to India with interest? Is there a deal behind this as well? Worth looking in to, by those interested and competent.  For India this is fishing in troubled waters and making hay while the sun is shining Because for them always ‘India is first” Here they have surpassed even Kautilya and perhaps borrowed the dictum Ends justify the means” from Machiavelli in attaining its political goals, though we cannot blame India for the follies of our politicians.

The Minister of Energy in my view should have,

1 First Settle the outstanding bills with the CPC Rs. 90 billion due to fuel already purchased

and

2 Thereafter buy the diesel and Petrol from the CPC. So that the profit from this deal will not go to India, but the CPC will get it. CPC being a giant State Corporation that plays a vital role in the process of economic development and the life of the people of this country, in my view, it is the inalienable duty of not only the Minister of Power and Energy but also of the whole Cabinet headed by the President, to Protect the CPC. The Minister Concerned in my view has betrayed not only the Minister in charge of CPC but also the whole country by resorting to purchase fuel from IOC. Had the fuel being purchased from the CPC, the CEB will also function with CPC fuel and CPC, a Sri Lankan Government’s business concern will also prosper and contribute to economic development at home instead of funding econ development of India, with the loan money take from them going back to India making a double payment to India by the Government of this country.. CEB purchasing fuel from CPC means it leads to development at home and profit for the country.  I wonder what has happened to the often-spoken collective responsibility of the Cabinet. If I were the Minister in charge of the CPC, I would have resigned forthwith in protest against this decision of the Cabinet. In fact this callous decision of betraying the interests of the country and those of the people warrants an open apology to the people of this country by the government for betraying the trust  they had kept in the present Government in Nov 2019 and May 2020.

If I were the Head of the State, I would have ordered the cancellation of the meaningless and mad Feb 4 wasteful celebrations (celebrations of an independence, the people of this country have never got up to date) along with it months old rehearsals etc and diverted that money to settle the CPC bills in time and made arrangements for regular supply of electricity to the people and rescued the CPC as well. Mr. President, therefore it is not yet too late even now to reverse this utterly treasonous Cabinet decision and retore the status quo, lest the Opposition brings a no confidence motion against the Government on this issue.

Does the Cabinet too want to close down the CPC and hand over the entire fuel distribution business to the IOC?

Does the Cabinet too want to close down the CPC and hand over the entire fuel distribution business to the IOC. The first mistake in this game was done by Ranil’s government in2002. Firstly, by handing over the distribution of fuel to IOC and Secondly, handing over the Trinco Oil Farm of 101 Tanks each with a capacity of 20,000 Metric Tons totaling to 1.2 Million MT. Mount Batton constructed these tanks in 1927 -32 to store all the needs to meet the requirements of whole of south East Asia. We never made use of these tanks after 1948.What an asset and a economic marvel for Sri Lanka.

Doesn’t this show that our Cabinet is more concerned about the IOC than the CPC and the well- being of Indians rather than Sri Lankans at Home. One should not get surprised if we hear next that they have decided to hand over the CPC as well, with all its assets to India. Next step in their march to vistas of prosperity will be handing over all 101 Tanks, the harbour and the 85 acres around it to India, perhaps on the advice of the Super High Commissioner Milinda Moragoda who had identified this Trinco Project as a Thrust Area’ item in is Policy Road Map” submitted to you before he left for Delhi under your compulsion as it was widely reported.?

Now that Trinco oil Farm and the Harbour and part of Hambantota, Colombo West Terminal and Kankasanture Airport and Declaration of the North and East as Traditional Homeland of South Indian Tamils, Tamil is made an Official Language all over Sri Lanka with Tamil only in the North and East, while even in India it is not, though they have 70 million Tamils in Tamilnadu alone and all illicit Tamils in Sri Lanka are given citizenship by JR/ Rajiv Accord it is only left  for Tamils to declare unilaterally EELAM on this soil. And call it Mother Ilanka” thereafter, leaving two options for the Sinhalese, that is either integrate with the Tamils and live in Ilanka as a minority in future or jump in to the Indiana Ocean as a Nation.?

The relevant News item on the Cabinet decision is given below.

ECONOMYNEXT 2.2 2022.

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will buy 40,000 metric tonnes of diesel and 40,000 metric tonnes of petrol from the Indian Oil Corporation following discussions, a governments statement said.

 The Ministry of Energy has discussed with the Indian Oil Company to procure” the fuel, the statement said.

Indian Oil Corp has agreed to supply the fuel.

The cabinet of ministers had given the go-ahead to purchase the fuel.

The statement did not say whether a 500 million dollar credit line given by India to Sri Lanka to buy fuel will be used. (Colombo/Feb01/2022)”

Sri Lanka to purchase 40,000 Metric Tons of diesel from IOC

Tuesday, February 1, 2022 – 11:02

Local

The Cabinet of Ministers has approved to procure 40,000 metric tons of diesel and 40,000 metric tons of petrol from Indian Oil Company.

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