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Adani wind power project issues: CEB Chair apologizes over COPE statements

The Chairman of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) M.C.C. Ferdinando has apologized unconditionally over the statement made by him at the COPE meeting, regarding the awarding of the Mannar Wind Power project to Indian conglomerate Adani, and says he wishes to withdraw the statement which is totally incorrect.

Issuing a statement last night addressed to COPE Chair Dr. Charitha Herath, the CEB chairman says 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 projects with Adani Green Energy Limited to generate renewable energy of 500 MW, I explained the circumstances behind my letter dated 25 November 2021.”

“During this discussion I became so emotional due to pressures and unreasonable allegations 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 bala kara bawa kiwwa’ (stressed by the Hon Prime Minister of India), which is totally incorrect. Hence, I wish to withdraw the relevant statement and record my apology unconditionally,”

During a meeting of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) at the parliamentary complex on Friday (10), the CEB Chairman M.M.C. 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.

However, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa issued a statement yesterday denying these allegations of undue authorisation for wind power project.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa categorically stated 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.”