The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation Common Workers Union (CPCCWU) yesterday (15), stressed that if the Government continues to avoid publishing the fuel price formula to keep the public informed, they would soon file a Fundamental Rights Petition against the Government, charging it with fleecing the public after having hoodwinked them.
From the fuel price formula, formulated according to the Singapore flat price, the Government has imposed a tax of Rs 71 per litre, but the CPCCWU emphasized that their petition would be filed against the Government for having failed to enlighten the masses on the issue.
“This is daylight robbery. The fuel consumers are unaware that when they purchase a litre of petrol, the Government levies a tax of Rs 71 on it. The people have a moral right to be aware of this. What we are saying is that the levying of this tax should be done after having briefed the people. This is nothing but picking the people’s pockets on the sly,” said the Secretary of CPCCWU Janaka Rajakaruna, a representative of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna,.
He added that they will be naming the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Petroleum Resources Development, and the entire Cabinet of Ministers, as respondents in the petition.
They further claimed that though three months had already lapsed, the Ministry of Finance had not responded positively to appeals made through the Right to Information Act (RTI) demanding the publication of the fuel pricing formula.
He pointed out that Minister of Finance, Mangala Samaraweera, who also functions as the Minister of Mass Media, had intentionally and seriously violated the RTI.
He noted that the CPCCWU had made requests to the Ministry of Finance and Mass Media, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources Development and the CPC requesting them to publish the formula.
“But the CPC informed us that they were clueless on the price formula. The Secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources Development Upali Samarasinghe has requested us to inquire from the Ministry of Finance and Mass Media. However, the Ministry of Finance is acting as if though they are deaf and blind,” Rajakaruna added.
Though several societal groups in the recent past have demanded the publication of the fuel pricing formula, the Government to date has continued to ignore such requests and demands.
Instead of the publication of the formula, a committee which convenes each month on the 9th has twice jacked up the price of fuel.