South Asia

Published: Saturday 15 July 2006

lankan fuel crisis: Sri Lanka recently reached a settlement with the Lanka Indian Oil Corporation (LIOC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Indian Oil Corporation, to resolve a fuel crisis in the country. LIOC was unable to import any fuel from India unless the Lankan government paid at least Rs 1 billion (Lankan) for the purchase, resulting in a fuel shortage. The Lankan government finally agreed to pay around Rs 7.4 billion in subsidies to LIOC. The Lankan company has 160 fuel stations in the country and controls 32 per cent of Sri Lanka's retail fuel market and 16 per cent of its lubricant market. The company claimed the Lankan government owes it Rs 7.44 billion in unpaid subsidies, which has led to a loss of Rs 7.07 billion, for the financial year 2005-2006.

poaching check: The North West Frontier Province's wildlife department in Pakistan has decided to equip its field staff with automatic rifles to check illegal hunting and poaching in protected areas of the province. The provincial government directed the home affairs department to provide AK-47 rifles to 600 field staff of the wildlife department to curb illegal hunting and trapping of wild birds and animals in national parks and conservancies in the province. Officials added the government also planned to provide communication tools and mobile phone facilities to field staff in remote areas.

transport hiccups: A plan to launch Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses by 2007 in Lahore, Pakistan, hit a roadblock since the transport department could not reach an agreement with transporters. The Punjab Provincial Transport Authority had invited applications from transporters in April this year in line with a high court order but no company was ready to offer its services for the next two years. The companies, however, sought time from the department and asked for route permits, saying they would run buses on the routes after two years. Only DHA Shuttle Service agreed to launch CNG buses in a month if routes were allocated to them. But the department rejected their offer saying the company's buses had low passenger capacity.

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