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 Post subject: Threat of power cuts & fuel supply disrupts tomorrow
 Post Posted: Mon Mar 28, 2005 5:24 am 
Threat of power cuts from tomorrow
CPC unions also threaten to disrupt fuel supply

Daily Mirror / 28MAR2005

Trade unions of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) and the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) threatened yesterday to launch a countrywide strike from midnight today if the government decides to proceed with the CEB and the CPC restructuring process at the crucial Cabinet meeting today.

Addressing a news conference in Colombo, the CEB unions' convener Ranjan Jayalal said the UPFA government had no ethical right to proceed with this privatisation process, the 'so-called restructuring process'.

He said employees of all power stations, substations, and transmission centres would come to Colombo this morning to protest against the government's impending decision while CPC employees would launch a lunch-hour picket to force the government to withdraw the restructuring efforts.

" The current crisis arose due to immature decisions taken by politicians in the past. To take political advantages and for their survival, they placed pledges before people, which they could not fulfil. Some said 'no power cuts at any cost' and let the CEB pay the price," he said.

The CEB unions also noted many successive governments as well as the present government delayed starting new power projects like the Upper Kotmale and the Norochcholei, fearing political setbacks.

Meanwhile, Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers' Union (CEBEU) President Ananda Piyatilake pointed out that the restructuring process was not going to solve any of the problems the CEB was currently facing, including its astounding financial debt running into over Rs. 80 billion.

Hitting out at the Government, the CEBEU President accused the Government of merely going ahead with the restructuring process 'just for the money'. He also claimed that the Government had failed to even initiate a discussion with the employees and had resorted to an ad hoc restructuring process.

The unions said they could not believe anybody as different people made different statements regarding the restructuring process.

They said business tycoons cannot resolve the power and energy crisis. "There are professionals in the field and they should be given a chance to find solutions," they maintained.

They urge the Government to cancel the CEB Restructuring Bill or bring amendments to it, without shamelessly proceeding with a bill they earlier opposed.

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