Sri Lanka electricity board chief: Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Indian billionaire Gautam Adani and a Sri Lankan power project are in turmoil. Sri Lanka’s leading media group NewsFirst has reported that the head of Sri Lanka’s Electricity Authority has testified before a parliamentary panel that he was told by Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa that India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi had donated 500 MW directly to the Adani Group. of wind power project. When there was an uproar on this statement, now the official has taken a U-turn. So why is that officer now retracting from his statement?
Now before knowing what that official has said in the clarification and what statement has been given by the President of Sri Lanka in this matter, let us know the whole incident.
News First Media Group, owned by Capital Maharaja Organization, reported that Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) chairman M.M.C. Ferdinando told Parliament Watchdog on Friday that he was told by the president that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was pushing for energy investment projects to be given to the Adani Group. He was present at the Public Enterprises Committee hearing in Parliament on Friday. Before the committee, the CEB chairman said he was called by the head of state after a meeting chaired by the president and that’s when the same thing was said about the Adani group.
He told the committee, ‘I told them that this is not a matter related to me or CEB and it should be referred to the investment board.’ The CEB chairman said that he then informed the Treasury Secretary in writing, requesting him to look into the matter, keeping in mind that it was necessary at a government-to-government level.
There was an uproar after this statement of the chairman of the Ceylon Electricity Board. How the reaction was, it can be gauged from the fact that Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had to explain.
In a tweet on Saturday, he said, “Re a statement made by the #lka CEB Chairman at a COPE committee hearing regarding the award of a Wind Power Project in Mannar, I categorically deny authorisation to award this project to any specific person or entity. I trust responsible communication in this regard will follow.”
Amidst this statement of the President of Sri Lanka, the clarification of the Chairman of the Ceylon Electricity Board came on Saturday itself.
Ceylon Electricity Board chairman M.M.C. Ferdinando said he had mistakenly told the Parliamentary Monitoring Committee that the President had told him that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had insisted on awarding a wind power project to the Adani Group.
Speaking exclusively to ‘News First’, the CEB chairman said that he was very emotional when the allegations were leveled against him at the Public Enterprises Committee session on Friday. He said he was under pressure in the committee session and admitted that he made a false statement. He told News First, ‘I have withdrawn that statement.’ MMC Ferdinando said he only realized he had made such remarks in error when the minister questioned him about the matter on Saturday morning.
By the way, Gautam Adani had gone to Sri Lanka last year and met the President there. He had then tweeted, “Privileged to meet President @GotabayaR and PM @PresRajapaksa. In addition to developing Colombo Port’s Western Container Terminal, the Adani Group will explore other infrastructure partnerships. India’s strong bonds with Sri Lanka are anchored to centuries’ old historic ties.”
Let us tell you that there has been an uproar in the Parliament of Sri Lanka as well. Sri Lanka’s opposition in parliament alleged that the 1989 Act was amended because of an “unwanted” government-to-government-level agreement to build a 500 MW wind power plant in the north coast with the participation of the Adani Group. The main opposition party SJB wanted projects above 10 MW capacity to go through a competitive bidding process, but most of the government’s lawmakers voted against it. According to the report, the bill introduced in the Parliament on May 17, 2022 by the Minister of Power and Energy, enables a person to apply for a generation license to generate electricity.
As such, this amendment will remove the restriction on issuance of electricity generation license to a person producing electricity more than the generation capacity of 25 MW and will allow anyone to apply for the same without any restriction on the generation capacity.