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UNP Price Formula would have increased fuel rates more – Minister Gammanpila

The price of petrol and diesel would have been Rs. 157 and Rs. 122 and not Rs. 157 and Rs. 111 respectively had the Price Formula of the United National Party (UNP) led former Good Governance Government been applied, Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila in Parliament yesterday said.

He added that the V1+V2+V3 Price Formula by the former Good Governance Government is there with the Government and anybody can calculate the fuel price applying the same. He added that the former government was defeated by people and they get fuel at a cheaper rate.

The Minister said that the Government has not reached any decision to privatise the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) as speculated by the Opposition led by Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), in Parliament yesterday. He said that he will stand against such a decision under whatever ground unconditionally.

The Minister was responding to SJB Parliamentarian Nalin Bandara Jayamaha during the Round of Questions for Oral Answers.

He said that the Government has decided to renovate the Sapugaskanda Refinery and the feasibility report is being finalised to construct a refinery which could refine 100,000 barrels of crude oil a day, which is two-fold of the Sapugaskanda Refinery when the capacity is considered.

 


CAA has not approved new gas cylinder to market – Minister Bandula

Trade Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardena said that the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) had not granted any approval to issue the new gas cylinder to the market.

He was responding in Parliament yesterday to Janatha Vimukti Peramuna (JVP) MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake.

“The CAA has not granted any approval to issue any other gas cylinder for the 12.5kg gas cylinder. However, the company has the authority to introduce new products that were not available in the market. The company Board of Directors had come to an agreement and they had introduced this new gas cylinder. I agree with all the factors mentioned by MP Dissanayake. The consumer has been misled by this move and they have been unfairly treated in terms of the price. What the State Ministry has done is to obtain reports from the Peradeniya University and other universities regarding the standard (quality) of this new product,” he said. He added that the State Minister will table these reports in Parliament.

He said that the CAA has conducted a market research and found that there is a shortage of the 12.5kg gas cylinder in the market. “Therefore, the CAA had issued a extraordinary gazette notification stipulating that every gas vendor should have 12.5kg gas cylinders available for sale,” the Minister said.

The Minister also tabled the extraordinary gazette notification. He said that the CAA had notified all their regional offices to conduct periodical raids to ensure that the 12.5kg gas cylinders are available at all gas sales outlets. He added that legal action will be initiated against anyone who fails to adhere to this stipulation.

He said that Laughs gas had made a request to increase the price of a cylinder by Rs. 750 and Litro Gas by Rs. 650. He, however, said that the President had determined that if gas prices were to be increased at this point, it would cause grave difficulties to households.

A Cabinet Sub-Committee was appointed under the leadership of Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardena to investigate this matter. The other members of the Cabinet Sub-Committee are Ministers Keheliya Rambukwella, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Mahinda Amaraweera and Udaya Gammanpila. “We decided that no matter who is in power, the gas companies cannot function without prices being increased. During the previous election campaign, the previous government reduced the gas prices by Rs. 250 just two days before the election. However, they lost the election and we have maintained the gas prices at another Rs. 250 lesser than that reduced rate all this time,” the Minister said.

“But the Sub-Committee decided against increasing prices and instead came up with a proposal to assist the gas companies with their distribution and purchasing to prevent these companies from suffering losses, which would jeopardise the gas distribution network in the country. Therefore, a committee consisting of experts in the relevant fields including representatives of Litro and Laughs gas companies will be appointed to carry out procurement, transportation and storage to purchase LP gas for the country. It was also proposed to exempt these gas companies from the Port Taxes. Following the implementation of the proposal, purchasing, transporting and storage of gas by the Litro and Laughs Gas Companies will be made through the Hambantota Gas Terminal.

Based on the Cabinet paper by Minister Bandula Gunawardena, the Litro Gas and Laughs Gas Companies have agreed to maintain the prices at Rs. 1,493 per 12.5kg gas cylinder.

Minister Gunawardena said that the multinational companies are selling soap not in conformity with proper TSA standards. Therefore, he added that now the Government has intervened and there are three companies which are producing and marketing soaps in accordance with proper standard specifications at Rs. 40 per cake of soap. He said that the Government is determined to ensure that goods meeting the proper standard specifications are made available to the public as the Government concerned about the health and welfare of the people.

JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake asked what measures the Government has taken whereas the Gas company, which is Government owned, has increased prices. “Is the Gas company Chairman in a higher position than the Minister? This is nothing more than a gimmick to hoodwink the people,” he said.

Minister Gunawardena said that although the gas company is a Government institution, such decisions are made on the decisions of the Board of Directors.

 


Government will not privatise Railways – Minister Lokuge

Transport Minister Gamini Lokuge said that the Government will not privatise the Railways as assumed by the Opposition.

He was responding to Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Parliamentarian Chaminda Wijesiri during the Round of Questions for Oral Answers.

Minister Lokuge said that the Railways is maintained as a service - not as a means of profit. He added that the salaries and other payments had been made to the Railway employees.

He said that 1,753 of vacancies for minor employees exist in the Department and it was due to a decision not to recruit them until a revision of the cardre for the Railway Department. He added that the recruitment is not made not because the Railway Department is to be privatised as speculated by the Opposition Members.

 


Higher compensation for lands acquired for massive development projects soon -Minister Chandrasena

The Government will grant considerably higher compensation for the lands acquired for massive development projects without any delay, Land Minister S. M. Chandrasena in Parliament yesterday said.

He said that under the instructions of the President and the Prime Minister, the Government has decided to grant compensation for the constructions on the lands and also for the reputation of the businesses within those properties.

He also said that the Government has noted that compensation for the property acquired years back has still to be paid. He added that the amounts would be paid under the LARC and SUPER LARC Systems.

He was commencing the Second Reading Debate under the Sri Lanka Land Development Corporation (Amendment) Bill and Regulations under the Lands Acquisition Act.

Minister Chandrasena said that the lands acquired for the implementations of the Colombo City Development Plan, Kurunegala-Habarana (Via Dambulla) Rail Track Development Project, Strategic City Development Project, Transmissions Lines and Grid Substations Project with ADB funds, Ruwanpura Expressway Development Project and the Colombo Port City Access Elevated Highway Development Project will be considered under these amendments.

Minister Chandrasena said that the Government has decided to grant lands to 100,000 youth to commence their enterprises while lands are to be granted to commence the organic fertilizer to achieve the government’s bid to provide organic fertilizer free to farmers in the Maha season. He invited the Opposition members in the North to encourage the youth in the North to commence such projects and that the government will extend its helping hand lavishly.

 


CID probes sale of paddy as animal feed during Yahapalana Regime – Minister Aluthgamage

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) is probing a loss of Rs. 2 billion caused by selling paddy stocks in good condition as animal feed during the Yahapalana regime, Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage informed the House yesterday.

According to Minister Aluthgamage, 88,615 MT of good quality paddy suitable for human consumption had been sold at low prices as animal feed during the Yahapalana regime. A loss of Rs. 2.48 billion was incurred due to this transaction, he said.

The Minister was responding to MP K.P.Kumarasiri during the Oral Questions Round.

According to Minister Aluthgamage, this paddy has been sold at a lower price of Rs. 24 per kg without the approval of the Paddy Marketing Board (PMB). The CID is now investigating the matter, the Minister said.


SJB MP Gayantha lauds Government’s proposal

The Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Parliamentarian Gayantha Karunathilake yesterday lauded the Government’s proposal to grant compensation for the acquired lands and property to implement massive development projects under the LARC and SUPER LARC Systems.

He was participating in the Second Reading Debate under the Sri Lanka Land Development Corporation (Amendment) Bill and Regulations under the Lands Acquisition Act.

He added that the proposal was commendable as the people whose property is acquired for the development projects are getting attractive compensation and they get them without any delay. He said that the six development projects require massive extension of lands. Those lands sometimes come under Buddhist Temporalities Act and many such Acts, which would not entitle the residents for compensation. Therefore, this move will enable them to get their compensation, he said.

He added that however the opposition will stand against the if it attempts to privatise the State lands at strategic locations covered under these amendments.


Suicide bomber’s accomplice deserves justice – Field Marshal Fonseka

Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka said in Parliament yesterday that the LTTE cardre who assisted the bomber who carried out a suicide attack on him has been remanded for 15 years and that cardre deserves justice.

“I feel despite the fact that this youth supported the suicide mission against me, he has spent enough time in prison for the offence he had made 15 years ago. I believe he should be given justice for having to stay in remand for this long,” Fonseka said.

Field Marshal Fonseka was responding to a speech by Minister Namal Rajapaksa in Parliament regarding long term imprisonment of the LTTE suspects in the remand prison.

Field Marshal Fonseka said he remembered being taken to the Welikada Prison on September 30, 2010. “I was taken inside the premises at midnight. At that time, there were buses full of Tamil youth who were LTTE supporters. One young man seeing me shouted out in broken Sinhala that the Army Commander, who had ended the war enters the Welikada prison, while we are being taken out from the prison.”

During my imprisonment, I used to come to Court for my case. To my left was a young man who happened to be the one who brought the suicide bomber who attacked me. His name is Morris. We got to talking while waiting. He still talks to me occasionally. It was in 2006 that I was attacked. This young man is still in remand custody. No case has been filed against him. Even though I was attacked, I think it is time that we do justice by him.”


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