Colombo aims to get back 20 Trinco oil tanks from India

[TamilNet, Monday, 20 July 2020, 17:27 GMT]
A ministerial delegation was visiting Trincomalee last week to inspect the possibility for getting back twenty of the Trincomalee oil tanks from the Indian Oil Corporation, according to Colombo-based Sunday Times. “We have made a request for 20 tanks, but we hope we can at least start with 15,” the paper reported SL Power and Energy Minister Mahinda Amaraweera as saying on Sunday. New Delhi, which is a major strategic partner of the USA, has been pushing for joint operation of the oil farm, especially during the rule of the previous regime under Maithiriapala Siriseana and Ranil Wickramasinghe.

While Colombo now wants the CPC to operate at least 15 oil tanks, the ‘trade unions’ associated with the CPC are entirely opposed to the joint operation of the plants involving the Indian Oil Corporation.

The British built the farm of 101 tanks at Chinabay as an oil storage facility to its eastern naval fleet anchored at the Trincomalee harbour during the Second World War.

Following the Indo-Lanka Accord of 1987, the then Indian Prime Minister Rajeev Gandhi wrote a letter to the then SL President J.R. Jayawardene. The letter exchange was an annexure to the agreement.

Trincomalee or any other ports in Sri Lanka were not be made available for military use by any country in a manner prejudicial to India’s interests, the annexure stated.

It also said that the work of restoring and operating the Trincomalee Oil Tank Farm were to be undertaken as a joint venture between Colombo and New Delhi.



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