India has secured 14 oil tanks at the Trincomalee oil tank farm currently operated by the LIOC would be leased out to the LIOC for another 50 years, Sri Lankan Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila said.
He said 61 other tanks will be managed by the newly established Trinco Petroleum Terminals Ltd.
“As a result of the agreement, 85 out of 99 tanks of the farm will be under the control of the CPC. A total of 24 tanks directly by the CPC and and 61 through the subsidiary. The LIOC will manage only 14 tanks.Regaining the control of the Trinco oil tank farm by Sri Lanka is a historical victory,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) today alleged that the government was planning to lease out the Trincomalee oil tank farm to LIOC for another 50 years, albeit there is a chance to take over them by the government as the 20-year lease agreement with LIOC is to expire in two years’ time.
Former JVP MP Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa told a news conference that a permit was issued to LIOC in 2004 to import, store and distribute fuel for 20 years and that it was to expire in two years’ time.
He said the LOIC had been using the oil tank farm without any lease agreement for the past 18 years and that there was an ongoing case in the Supreme Court that the LOIC had no legal rights to use the tanks.
Diplomatic sources indicated that New Delhi’s nod for the emergency Lines of Credit and currency swap requests from Colombo was contingent on the Rajapaksa administration moving forward on the Trincomalee deal.
It is nearly a month since Mr. Basil visited New Delhi, and the countries agreed to a “four-pronged approach” that would help Sri Lanka mitigate its current economic crisis. There is no official word on the assistance so far.