SJB files FR Petition against transferring shares to NFE
BY Faadhila Thassim
General Secretary of Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), Ranjith Madduma Bandara filed a Fundamental Rights (FR) petition before the Supreme Court yesterday (21) against the transfer of the Kerawalapitiya Yugadanavi liquefied natural gas (LNG) power plant’s shares to New Fortress Energy (NFE).
The petition states that insufficient and improper technical assessment of the NFE proposal pose a considerable risk to the cost of electricity; impacting the continued functioning of power plants, especially when consumers will have to bear the cost of breakdowns from technical failures in its implementation.
“Under the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) Tender the prospective bidder must obtain all environmental related approvals, including Environment Impact Assessments (EIA) considering the marine biology at the Kerawalapitiya site,” the Petition said while stating that no EIA had been undertaken and executed by the NFE.
It was also stated that the decision approving and/or authorising the procurement of LNG from NFE and/or the decision to approve and/or authorise the sale of 40 per cent of shares and for the supply of LNG are ad hoc, arbitrary, unjustifiable and illegal amounting to a gross violation off undamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution. “The procurement through a streamlined competitive bidding scheme ensuring transparency and accountability, is contrary to the procurement policy set out in the National Energy Policy and Strategies (2019),” the Petition stated.
The Cabinet Decision effectively consolidates a monopoly for NFE to supply LNG to Yugadanavi, Sobhadanavi and to the Government of Sri Lanka, restricting like industries and sectors from accessing LNG supplies under competitive market rates which violates the National Policy on Natural Gas of Sri Lanka, the Petition said.
Thereby the Petition sought to declare that any measures taken for the procurement of LNG from the New Fortress Energy to be illegal, null and void and of no force or avail in law, Grant and Issue an Interim Order restraining from taking any measures for the procurement of any form of LNG from NFE. Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Minister of Finance Basil Rajapaksa, NFE, the Attorney General and 32 others including Cabinet of Ministers were named as respondents to the Petition .