Sri Lanka’s military have taken over control of main fuel distribution because of a strike embarked upon by employees that has disrupted fuel supplies, officials said on Wednesday.
President Maithripala Sirisena has declared fuel distribution an essential service to maintain public life, prompting the military to take control of petroleum product supplying points.
“We have gotten the help of the Army to assist in fuel supply distribution,’’ Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Products, Upali Marasinghe, said.
All workers of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) on Tuesday staged a strike in protest over a government decision to enter into an agreement with a Chinese firm to lease a newly-constructed harbour in the south-eastern part of the country.
The harbour located in Hambantota, 232 kilometres south-east of the capital, was built with Chinese assistance during former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government, but has failed to attract traffic.
Petroleum workers claim that the Chinese firm will also have control of fuel bunkering business and that profits of the CPC would, therefore, be affected.
Meanwhile, the strike has crippled life in Sri Lanka with public transport affected and long queues outside fuel stations.