With petrol at record levels, Sri Lanka orders troops to oversee distribution

Long lines, erratic supply and unprecedented prices have made petrol and diesel a near-luxury commodity in Sri Lanka.
By : HT Auto Desk
| Updated on: 22 Mar 2022, 18:17 PM
Sri Lankan Army members stand guard at a Ceylon Petroleum Corporation fuel station to help stations distribute oil. (REUTERS)
Sri Lankan Army members stand guard at a Ceylon Petroleum Corporation fuel station to help stations distribute oil. (REUTERS)
Sri Lankan Army members stand guard at a Ceylon Petroleum Corporation fuel station to help stations distribute oil. (REUTERS)
Sri Lankan Army members stand guard at a Ceylon Petroleum Corporation fuel station to help stations distribute oil.

The Sri Lankan government on Tuesday reportedly ordered its military to depute soldiers at fuel stations across the country after a sudden hike in prices of petrol, diesel and other essential commodities. A litre of petrol in the country is around  250 Sri Lankan rupees or approximately 66.79 while diesel rate per litre is at around 200 Sri Lankan rupees or approximately 53.43.

(Also read: Used cars more expensive than plush homes in Sri Lanka)

Reuters reports that the decision to position military personnel at petrol pumps and kerosene supply points comes in the aftermath of three people dying while waiting in long queues. Prices have shot up to record highs in recent weeks while supply of fuel is also hit. The country is also in the midst of a foreign exchange crisis which has led to the devaluation of its currently and directly impacted import payments. The soaring crude oil prices in the international market - especially in the aftermath of Russia's invasion of Ukraine - could not have come at a worse time.

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While petrol and diesel prices are at alarming levels, as are other essential items like kerosene, milk products and cooking gas, even those who can afford these are crying out foul over intermittent supply. Buying a car - new or pre-owned - is a luxury these days with prices shooting up to absurd levels. A five-year-old Toyota Land Cruiser, for instance, has a price sticker of $312,500 or 2.34 crore.

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Inflation in Sri Lanka hit 15.1% last month and the local currency is now at around 284.76 for just one US dollar. A large chunk of the blame is being put on Covid-19 pandemic majorly affecting the otherwise vibrant tourism sector here but foreign worker remittances have also come down. While mobility has taken a hit, more serious is the problem of taking care of daily sustenance for many locals.

 

First Published Date: 22 Mar 2022, 18:17 PM IST
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