TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -Sri Lankan army troops on Wednesday joined those workers who have not taken part in the strike at distribution facilities.
Long lines have been being formed at gas stations throughout Sri Lanka since Monday night due to the protest action by workers at the country’s state-run petroleum company, who are opposed to an agreement to sell a 70-percent stake in a southern port to China. The government endorsed that deal on Tuesday.
A spokesman for the Ceylon Petroleum Common Workers Union, D. J. Rajakaruna, said that as part of the deal, China would get 11 oil tanks at the port. Additionally, he said, the government also planned to give 99 oil tanks in the eastern port city of Trincomalee to India.
The tanks were built by Britain during World War II but were unused until some of them were given to Lanka IOC — a unit of the Indian Oil Corporation — in 2002 as part of a privatization deal that granted the Indians a presence at the strategic port.
Rajakaruna said that the government was now trying to lease out 14 of the 99 tanks to Indian companies and have a joint venture for the other tanks.
He said the tanks were a prime national asset of Sri Lanka, while the agreements would only benefit Chinese and Indian companies, adding that the moves would gravely affect Sri Lanka’s economy in the long run.
The cabinet approval on Tuesday involved a long-delayed agreement to sell to China a 70-percent stake in a $1.2-billion Chinese-built port in the southern town of Hambantota.