JVP trade unions in the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation are demanding restrictions on the Indian Oil Company (IOC) following reports that it owes the government Rs. 375 million for the supply of kerosene over the past six months, a party official said yesterday.
JVP trade union leader Lakshman Ananda charged that the IOC had also violated its agreement with the government by increasing its market share to as much as 35 percent though it had agreed to limit the share to five percent.
Mr. Ananda claimed that the IOC was making use of the storage facility at Kolonnawa and the unions were urging President Mahinda Rajapakse to intervene and stop this illegal use.
Petroleum Resources Minister A.H.M. Fowzie said the IOC owed the government Rs. 375 million for the supply of kerosene and he would be taking up the matter with the Treasury.
?The IOC also has stopped selling kerosene in the Ratnapura district. This is causing concern as the poor villagers in the area are badly affected. IOC claims selling kerosene is causing losses to it but selling petroleum products to the IOC is a big loss to the CPC,? the minister said.
Responding to the charges, IOC Managing Director K. Ramakrishnan said his company did not owe any money to the CPC but admitted it had a bigger market share than originally agreed because of the company`s efficient service.
During the past few years, JVP trade unions in the CPC have struck work and caused a fuel crisis in protest over moves by the government to sell shares of the CPC.
Meanwhile, the government is trying to find a third player locally to market another 100 filling stations after abandoning its plans to sell them to Bharath Petroleum.