Colombo [Sri Lanka], June 30 (ANI): Amid the fuel shortage in the country, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is expected to visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the coming weeks to procure the fuel.
While addressing a news conference on Tuesday, Sri Lankan PM Mahindananda Aluthgamage said that the Russian Ambassador to Sri Lanka had initiated the discussion to facilitate the telephonic conversation between President Rajapaksa and Russian President Vladimir Putin to reach an agreement for the procurement of fuel.
The MP said the government had formulated a comprehensive mechanism to ensure continuous fuel supply after July 10.
Aluthgamage said the President was constantly in contact with the Indian Prime Minister, Petroleum Resources Minister and Foreign Minister to procure fuel from India.
He said the President had a discussion with the seven fuel importers to Sri Lanka and took steps to resolve issues concerning fuel supply.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka's postal department decided to open post and sub ports offices three days a week considering transport and travelling difficulties.
Accordingly, the services by the main and sub-offices will be available on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, Daily Mirror Online reported.
Earlier, the Indian Oil subsidiary in Sri Lanka, Lanka IOC (Indian Oil Corporation) announced to restrict the sale of petrol to a maximum of Rs 7,000 for four-wheelers, with immediate effect.
"Lanka IOC with immediate effect restricts sales of Petrol as follows:: 2 Wheelers: Rs.1500/- 3 Wheelers: Rs.2500/- 4 Wheelers: Rs.7000/- Inconvenience caused is deeply regretted," tweeted Lanka IOC PLC.
Lanka IOC is the only private oil company that operates retail petrol and diesel stations in Sri Lanka.
Considering the rapid decline in fuel supply, the Sri Lanka government restricted issuing fuel to private vehicles and announced providing fuel only for essential services with effect from Monday night, Daily Mirror reported.
Sri Lanka's Cabinet spokesman Bandula Gunawardena said, "The fuel crisis in the country was discussed at length at the Cabinet meeting held yesterday and it was decided to issue fuel only for essential services. It was decided to provide fuel to essential series, such as ports, health sector, distribution of essential food items, and transportation of agricultural products, until July 10."He also assured that a mechanism to provide a continuous supply of LP gas and fuel would be in place after the 10th of July.
"Inter-provincial transport services will be halted due to limited stocks of fuel. Filling stations will not issue fuel to private vehicles during this period. The supply of fuel for essential services is done at SLTB depots and tri-forces manning filling stations," Daily Mirror quoted the minister as saying.
Notably, Sri Lanka has been facing the worst economic crisis since independence in 1948, leading to an acute shortage of essential items like food, medicine, cooking gas and fuel across the island nation.
The nearly-bankrupt country, with an acute foreign currency crisis that resulted in foreign debt default, had announced in April that it is suspending nearly USD 7 billion foreign debt repayment due for this year out of about USD 25 billion due through 2026. Sri Lanka's total foreign debt.
The economic crisis has particularly impacted food security, agriculture, livelihoods, and access to health services. Food production in the last harvest season was 40 - 50 per cent lower than last year, and the current agricultural season is at risk, with seeds, fertilizers, fuel and credit shortages.
Sri Lanka is one of the few nations named by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) which is expected to go without food due to the global food shortage expected this year. (ANI)