|A three-member committee has been appointed to ascertain how a blacklisted company connected to the latest contaminated-diesel controversy was re-listed by the former Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) Chairman disregarding a cabinet subcommittee direction that the registration should not be renewed. A Petroleum Industries Ministry source said yesterday the committee was appointed by th Ministry Secretary R.H.S. Samaratunga and mandated to find out why former Chairman Harry Jayawardana renewed the registration of the blacklisted Vitol Asia Pte Ltd. of Singapore even after a cabinet subcommittee headed by Senior Minister A.H.M. Fowzie had advised against it.
However the source said two preliminary tests conducted by the CPC after the unloading of the controversial 20,000 metric tonnes of diesel showed that the diesel was in keeping with the basic specifications and no contamination was found at that point.
“The SLTB, Health Ministry, Sri Lanka Ports Authority and Sri Lanka Railways had complained that their vehicles and machinery had broken down after using this diesel. We have found that these state institutions have their own filling stations but the pumping systems at these stations were outdated with the possibility of the diesel being contaminated,” the source said. “A final decision will be taken after the threemember committee, headed by the Ministry Auditor, submits its report to Petroleum Minister Susil Premajayantha next week.”
The CPC has sent two samples from the controversial stock of diesel to two countries in Asia and Europe for laboratory analysis. The report is expected by the end of this week.
Meanwhile, Environment Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa told a news conference at the Mahaweli Centre the formerly blacklisted company had quoted the lowest price for the stock of diesel when tenders were called and as such the CPC had awarded the tender to that company despite its questionable past.
Sri Lanka Railways Trade Union Leader Sumathipala Manawadu told a news conference that 30 Power Sets and six locomotive engines had broken down after the use of this substandard diesel.
He estimated the damage to be in the region of about Rs.3.1 million and said there was the possibility of a major breakdown in the railway service as other train engines and power sets could also breakdown.
“Trains and power sets are now run on supper diesel and by tomorrow there will be a shortage of super diesel as well,” he said.
Chandrasiri Mahagamage of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority said 18 of their cranes were out of order from July 23 after the use of this stock of contaminated diesel.