Vavuniya quota fuels less vehicles, more corruption

[TamilNet, Friday, 08 June 2001, 10:24 GMT]
The restrictions on the issue of fuel to the public in the Sri Lanka army controlled areas of the Vavuniya region is contradictory to the principles of governance and therefore should be removed forthwith, said the Union of Christian Churches in Vavuniya in a letter addressed to Major General S.H.Shantha Kottegoda, Commander of the Security Forces in Vanni this week.

The Union says that unscrupulous elements, including government soldiers are profiteering from the restricted quota system of the SLA under which fuel is issued to civilians in the northern border town.

Each registered motorbike in Vavuniya is issued 15 litres of petrol per month, each car 50 litres of petrol, each lorry 200 litres of diesel, auto-rickshaws 100 litres of petrol, tractors 100 litres of diesel and vans are issued 100 litres of diesel per month under the fuel quota system of the SLA.

Farmers who own water pumps which run on kerosene are issued 3 litres of petrol per month. Residents and businessmen in the northern border town say that the restrictions are unrealistic and gives rise to a lot of corruption.

"Vavuniya and its suburbs are saturated with Sri Lankan security forces. So why restrict fuel? After all these years it would be foolish on the part of the army to still believe that the LTTE expects to survive on the minuscule quantities of fuel that may slip out of the saturated security network of the army and Police in Vavuniya. This is a busy and populated town and everyone needs fuel", said a senior government official.

The fuel station at the Mannar road junction in Vavuniya town. Fuel is issued here only to permit holders. (Photo: TamilNet)
The fuel restriction is the bane of travellers who arrive in Vavuniya in their vehicles unaware of the quota system. If they are short of fuel for their return or onward journey they cannot buy petrol or diesel in Vavuniya town without a permit which is available only to temporary and permanent residents whose vehicles are registered in the northern border town under the quota system.

Following is the full text of the letter:

"As you are aware, a permit has to be obtained to purchase fuel in Vavuniya. This was introduced, we were told, to prevent fuel from reaching anyone other than the law-abiding citizens/common people of Vavuniya. We demand an end to this unjust system due to the following reasons.

"The state has taken very strong security measures in this area. Security is so tight that anything going out of this area without it being noticed by the forces at the Piramanaalankulam junction or at any point through the F.D.L. into the "uncleared area" (area controlled by the Liberation Tigers) is unimaginable. The restriction of fuel for the people in Vavuniya is uncalled for due to this well organised security measure. The permit system only gives rise to a doubt that there are weaknesses in the security measures. The continuation of this system justifies this doubt.

"The Government is often proud to announce that in Vavuniya there is civil administration. The above system of restricting the essential item of fuel is contradictory to the principles of governance.

"It is a well-known fact that some unscrupulous men including government soldiers are financially benefiting due to this system.

"So it is obvious that the purpose of this system is achieved through other means namely the checkpoints and front defence lines. What is worse is that there is a financial gain to unscrupulous people at the expense of the hardship caused the common people.

"Hence we condemn this system very strongly and request you that an immediate end be put to this practice."

The letter is signed by Rev.Fr.Jeyabalan Croos, President and Rev. S. D. Parimala Selvan, Secretary of the Union of Christian Churches, Vavuniya.


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