Sri Lanka legislator Patali Champika Ranawaka, a former Minister of Power has made shocking revelations over a power deal with India’s Adani group as a controversy brews over ending competitive tenders for private power producers.
Ranawaka said as far back as November 2021, the Chairman of Ceylon Electricity Board M C Ferdinando had written to the then Treasury Secretary asking for an agreement to be signed with Adani Green Energy after he was directed to ‘facilitate’ the project.
Ranawaka said he questioned at the parliament’s Committee on Public Enterprises whether there was anything in writing from India that Adani was representing the Indian government.
The letter said Adani Green Energy has proposed a 500MW wind and solar power plant in Mannar and Pooneryn area.
“As per this directive, I assumed that this is a proposal of an investor-backed by the Government of India on the basis of the bilateral discussion between two heads of state,” the November letter said.
“Therefore on the above basis, it is logical to assume that this is an investment proposal on the basis of G-G and can be processed as an investment channelled through the BOI as required under Cabinet Appointed Management Committee on Investment Process.
“Is this a government-to-government deal?” Ranawaka asked. “In the letter, the Chairman has said there was a direction from President and Prime Minister.
“President has denied this. So did the direction come from the Prime Minister?”
CEB Chairman Ferdinando also denied on June 12, that he was pressured by anyone over the Adani deal and retracted comments made to COPE.
Several events have taken place since the November letter.
On March 12, CEB, BOI, Finance Ministry and Sustainable Energy Authority signed an agreement giving the go-ahead for a feasibility study to be conducted.
Ranawaka said Adani had proposed a price of around 7.8 US cents per unit which was close to double the market rate.
Under Sri Lanka’s Electricity Act, a government-to-government deal can be made with cabinet approval without competitive tender.
Last Thursday the ruling party changed the Electricity Act to end competitive tenders for the renewable plants which were passed by the parliament amid vocal opposition.
“Under the change, a feed-in (non-market pre-determined) tariff could be given without limit,” Ranawaka said. “So the result if the deal cannot be done as a government-to-government deal, space has been created to do this project through another means.”