Fuel crisis brings Sri Lanka to its knees

Fuel crisis brings Sri Lanka to its knees

Fuel crisis brings Sri Lanka to its knees

Written by Staff Writer

01 Mar, 2022 | 2:58 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st); A worsening shortage of fuel has brought Sri Lankans of all walks of life to mile-long ques across the island, with little hope for a solution over the coming days.

“We have never experienced anything like this in our lifetime. It is a disaster”, noted a senior citizen, forced to queue up for hours for a few liters of fuel.

The situation has worsened with farmers, already struck by the fertilizer crisis, left with no fuel for machinery used to harvest crops. Farmers from ‘breadbasket’ areas in Sri Lanka were seen spending long nights on the street near fuel stations, for want of fuel to run crop processing machinery during a very short ‘dry’ window before rains are forecast. Farmers say that if harvested crops are not processed before wet weather hits, it could result in an unmitigated disaster.

Public transport has also come to a near standstill, and many Sri Lankans are finding it next to impossible to get to their places of work or carry out their day-to-day activities. The fuel shortage has also resulted in vegetables at the key wholesale markets dropping to a low, as they cannot be transported out of the markets to towns and villages.

Speaking on the crisis, Minister of Petroleum Udaya Gammanpilla said that if the Government will provide foreign exchange continuously, a continuous supply of fuel can be guaranteed. He claimed that the key crisis is neither fuel nor power, but the foreign exchange crisis.

“Already, there are vessels carrying fuel that is anchored near Colombo port, but the shipments cannot be cleared with no foreign exchange. These ships will not wait for payments if there was a fuel crisis,” he said.

“We have spent the entire night in this vehicle waiting in a fuel line. I ate my lunch and dinner seated right here. I am doing this, just so that my family and I can survive. Why are they doing this to us”? was a question, a farmer in rural Polonnaruwa asked the News 1st reporter earlier today.

Significantly, The Indian Oil Company (Lanka IOC) which controls some 250 of the 1,500 Fuel Stations in Sri Lanka, increased prices of fuel overnight last week.

Sri Lankan Trade Unions have voiced concern over Lanka IOCs decisions in Sri Lanka’s Fuel Market, adding it is the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation or the CPC that needs to decide on the prices of petroleum products.

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