Neither President nor PM pressured Arjuna

Minister of Petroleum Resources Development Arjuna Ranatunga told the Cabinet of Ministers that neither President Maithripala Sirisena nor Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had pressurized him to release substandard petrol into the market; Co-Cabinet Spokesperson Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera said yesterday (8).

Speaking to the media earlier this week, Ranatunga said that he was pressurized by certain elements to release the substandard stock of petrol shipment by the Lanka IOC. “We also asked Ranatunga who applied pressure on him and he said that he will reveal the information later. However, it is neither the President nor the Prime Minister,” he said.

Jayasekera added that it is difficult to evade responsibility from the crisis that occurred due to the petrol shortage by blaming the Lanka IOC which only imports 20% of the petrol used. “The problem is that we do not have a buffer stock,” he said.

Meanwhile, Co-Cabinet Spokesperson Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that 2,880 metric tonnes (MTs) of petrol was issued on 1 November, 2,861 MTs was issued on 2 November and 2,866 MTs was issued on 4 November. “This was much more than the average daily use but since people panicked this was not enough,” he said.

Senaratne also commented on a statement made by National Freedom Front Leader MP Wimal Weerawansa who stated that the fuel shortage was a conspiracy to remove Ranatunga. “Weerawansa is suffering from schizophrenia. He sees conspiracies everywhere,” he said.

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