Warn of TU action from 3 Nov. unless sale suspended
BY Pamodi WaravitaThe Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) United Trade Union (TU) Alliance will be engaging in an islandwide protest today (29), urging the Government of Sri Lanka to immediately suspend the sale of 40% of the shares held by the Government in the Yugadanavi liquefied natural gas (LNG) Power Plant to US-based energy company New Fortress Energy Inc. “We will be launching an islandwide protest at 12 noon tomorrow (29) where we will also sign a petition and hand it over to the CEB. If the agreement is not suspended before 3 November, we will engage in trade union action. The Government will be responsible for whatever darkness that comes after that,” warned CEB United Trade Union Alliance Convenor Ranjan Jayalal while speaking to The Morning yesterday (28).Attempts by The Morning to contact Power Minister Gamini Lokuge regarding the matter proved futile.The CEB United Trade Union Alliance also held a meeting with 11 constituent parties of the Government on Tuesday (26), where the Yugadanavi deal had been discussed. Although alliance parties of the Government had earlier sought meetings with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa regarding the matter, he has reportedly rejected these appeals. However, it was reported in the media yesterday that the President has called for a meeting with the alliance party leaders at the Temple Trees to discuss the Yugadanavi matter. The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) filed a writ application in the Court of Appeal against the agreement this week whilst the Samagi Jana Balawegeya (SJB), Archbishop of Colombo His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, Ven. Elle Gunawansa Thera, and the Federation of National Organisations filed fundamental rights petitions at the Supreme Court regarding the matter.New Fortress Energy Inc. said that it has signed a framework agreement with the Government to construct a new offshore LNG receiving, storage, and re-gasification terminal, primarily located at the Kerawalapitiya Power Complex, to supply gas to Sri Lanka’s power plants. The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) announced on Tuesday that the Government is set to receive a $ 250 million inflow from the partial divestment of the Yugadanavi Power Plant to New Fortress Energy Inc. and that the first tranche of the same is expected in November and December 2021.However, allegations levelled against the deal claimed that the long-term loss to Sri Lanka through the deal is around $ 6 billion and emphasised the threat it poses to the country’s energy security.The Sunday Morning reported that objections to the deal were raised by three cabinet ministers who had stated that the deal would monopolise the LNG supply.