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Chandi Dharmaratne

September 30, 2006 (LBO) — Ceylon Petroleum Corp. (CPC) Chairman Jaliya Medagama resigned Saturday citing personal reasons. Medagama will be succeeded by ex-cricketer Asantha de Mel.

De Mel, who is currently the chairman of CPCs oil storage and distribution facility, is also believed to have close links with President Mahinda Rajapakse.

In July, petroleum trade unions struck work, disrupting fuel supplies, when the government appointed de Mel to head the Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminals Ltd or CPTSL.

The oil storage and distribution facility is jointly owned by CPC (75 percent) and Indian fuel retailer Lanka IOC.

Unions saw de Mel’s appointment as a stepping stone to privatize the facility. The issue was subsequently settled and de Mel retained his job.