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Free flow of fuel

Govt to opt for alternative energy sources:

COLOMBO: Denying any plans to restrict the amount of oil distributed to consumers, Petroleum and Petroleum Resources Development Minister A.H.M. Fowzie said that the Government will look at alternative energy sources to address problems caused by the rapid increase in oil prices.

Minister Fowzie told the Daily News yesterday that although a fuel price hike was inevitable given the present conditions in the world market, no proposal has been made to limit the fuel supplied to the public through filling stations.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet Sun Committee appointed to study the impact of fluctuating oil prices on Sri Lanka which met yesterday decided that the public should not be burdened despite the financial difficulties faced by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation due to rising petroleum prices.

They decided to adopt a two-pronged approach to this issue in the short term to ensure that the ordinary public would not be affected.

"The Government has decided to focus on tapping alternative energy sources without continuing to depend on oil for all purposes. My proposal to this effect has received Cabinet approval.

The issue will also be taken up by the Cabinet Sub-Committee appointed to consider fuel price increase when it meets today," Minister Fowzie said.

According to the proposal approved by the Cabinet, a programme will be launched to produce crude oil from plastic, polythene, tyres and similar material.

The programme, once implemented, is expected to supply 20 per cent of the local fuel demand.

The Minister said that although the Cabinet has recommended tenders to be called to implement the project, there was only one recognised company in the world with the technology required for the purpose.

"Therefore, we will shortly present another memorandum to the Cabinet proposing that the project be entrusted to this company without any tender procedure".

Fowzie said that several other programmes to generate oil and electricity from alternative energy sources will soon be commenced by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and the Power and Energy Ministry.

He also emphasised that the Government was ready to provide relief to the consumer by reducing oil prices whenever crude oil prices go down in the international market.

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