Colombo, April 12: Sri Lankan Petroleum Minister Chandima Weerakkody announced today that India and Sri Lanka will operate the oil storage facility under a joint supervision at the strategic eastern port town of Trincomalee. There are 99 oil storage tanks in Trincomalee amongst which at least 77 will be managed under the new equity arrangement.
Last year a Cabinet paper was presented for the joint venture by the petroleum minister. But the deal took time to be finalized because of different issues. Now negotiations are resolved. Sri Lanka will have the ownership of 10 more tanks while another 14 will be handed to India on a long lease. India has shown interests in the oil storage tanks of Srilanka when 99 operational tanks were given to Indian Oil Corporation under an agreement.
Opposition leaders have criticized Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena for selling its assets to other countries. Sri Lanka-China partnership to develop the southern port of Hambantota has also been criticized by opponents.
Sri Lanka wants to maintain a good relation with China and India, both the countries.Sri Lanka is planning to give the Hambantota port to China, and the Trincomalee port to India. Sri Lanka is said to have a debt USD 8 billion to China and plans toto recover USD 1.2 billion by leasing the Hambantota port.