Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) Chairman M.C.C. Ferdinando apologised unconditionally, over the statement he made at the COPE meeting, regarding the awarding of the Mannar Wind Power Project to Indian conglomerate Adani Group. He says he wishes to withdraw the statement, which is totally incorrect.
Issuing a statement addressed to COPE Chair Dr. Charitha Herath, the CEB Chairman said that he was compelled without limitation to express the word ‘Indian Prime Minister’ due to unexpected ‘pressure and emotions’ during the discussion.
“In regard to the clarification made by me at the COPE meeting held on 10 June 2022 in replying to the allegation made against me on the proposed Mannar and Pooneryn Wind and Solar Project with Adani Green Energy Ltd. to generate Renewable energy of 500 MW, I explained the circumstances behind the issuance of my letter dated 25 November 2021. During this discussion I became so emotional due to pressures and unreasonable allegation levelled against me to issue this official letter of request. Therefore due to unexpected pressure and emotions I was compelled without limitation to express the word ‘India Agamathi balakara bawa Kiwwa’ (said, pressured by the Prime Minister of India) which is totally incorrect. Hence I wish to withdraw the relevant statement and record my apology unconditionally,” he said.
Meanwhile, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa categorically said that he had not at any time given authorisation to award a wind power project in Mannar to any person or any institution.
The President vehemently denied the statement made by the Chairman of the Ceylon Electricity Board at the Parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises in this regard.
Sri Lanka is currently in an acute shortage of power and President desires to expedite implementation of mega power projects as early as possible. However, no undue influence will be used in awarding such projects. Project proposals for large-scale renewable energy projects is limited, but special attention will be paid to the selection of institutions for the projects, which will be carried out strictly in accordance with the transparent and accountable system by the government of Sri Lanka.
During a meeting of the COPE, at the parliamentary complex on 10 June, Ferdinando had claimed that the tender for the wind power plant in Mannar had been given to India’s Adani Group as a result of the pressure exerted by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Ferdinando, who is the former Secretary to the Ministry of Power, told the committee that the President had informed him to award the tender to the Adani Group as there was pressure from the Indian Government to do so.