Lanka IOC hikes prices as CPC rations petrol and diesel

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COLOMBO – Lanka IOC (LIOC), a subsidiary of the Indian Oil Corporation (OIC), on Sunday (17) announced yet another price hike, this time increasing the price of petrol by Rs 35 and diesel by a massive Rs 75, even as the state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) imposed fuel rationing. This is the fifth time LIOC has increased fuel prices in three months, having previously increased petrol and diesel prices twice in February ( 6 and 10) and twice in March (10, 25).

The new prices, effective midnight Sunday, sees a litre of Petrol (92 and 95 Octane) being increased to Rs 338 and Rs 367 respective, Petrol Euro 3, increased to Rs 347, Auto Diesel to Rs 289 and Super Diesel to Rs 327.

CPC, which accounts for two-thirds of the retail fuel market, has not announced a price hike as yet, but strapped for cash and supplies, it imposed fuel rationing on Friday (15), limiting the maximum quantities drivers can buy to four litres of petrol (Rs 1000) for motor bikes, five litres (Rs 1500) for three wheelers and 19.5 litres (Rs 5000) of either petrol or diesel for private cars, vans and SUVs.  It also banned pumping into cans altogether to prevent motorists stocking up on petrol or diesel in fear of further rationing.

The fuel price hike and rationing comes as protests calling for President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s resignation intensifies, and long queues have become a norm at petrol stations across the country. At least eight people have died while waiting in fuel lines since last month.

Sri Lanka is in the grip of its worst economic crisis since independence in 1948, with severe shortages of essential goods and regular blackouts causing widespread misery.

The country’s main cooking gas retailer Litro Gas said it was completely out of stock, but hoped to get new supplies by Monday (18) to resume distribution.

The state-owned firm said its chairman, Theshara Jayasinghe, a strong ally of Rajapaksa, had resigned on Thursday (14) over the “prevailing situation” in the country.

Tens of thousands of people kept up a protest outside Rajapaksa’s office for a ninth straight day on Sunday demanding Gotabaya Rajapaksa quit over the economic hardships suffered by the country’s 22 million residents.

Sri Lanka’s economic meltdown began after the coronavirus pandemic torpedoed vital revenue from tourism and remittances.

The government has urged citizens abroad to donate foreign exchange to help pay for desperately needed essentials after announcing a default on its entire external debt.

It has announced it will open negotiations with the International Monetary Fund to seek a bailout.

-ENCL/Agencies

 

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