ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka has not yet arrived at a final decision to grant the hybrid power projects in the Northern Island to the Chinese company, Minister of Power Dullas Alahapperuma told Parliament today.
“The Cabinet has not approved it yet because the Treasury has requested for a formal recommendation to provide them with more information about the new technology used in the power project,” he said in response to a question from the Opposition.
The Minister said that media reports about leasing the northern islands to China are completely false and added that the government will not lease any land to any other country.
He said throughout history electricity was supplied to these three islands for a limited time period every day though diesel generators, “so providing electricity to those people is of national interest,” he added.
So he said for the past five years under the financial assistance from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) an international tender was called for power projects in the three islands.
“This is the first hybrid power project in the country, which generates electricity through wind and solar power,” Minister said.
Moreover, he said the ADB intervened and under their supervision, the tender was called for the first time.
“But in the first instance, all the parties who responded to the tender failed. Then the second tender was called in June 2019 and four companies came forward,” he said.
Alahapperuma said that out of them one company was from China and the other company was Sterling India and the tender was awarded to the lowest bid of USD 12 million.
Meanwhile, he said that the Indian High Commission has requested from the government that they are ready to give the financial assistance needed for the projects as a grant if the technical report is given to them.
Earlier this month, Co-Cabinet Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella confirmed that the Sri Lankan government has received complaints from the Indian Government over the power projects handed to China on islands
This because the islands are close to the Indian coast after media reported that India has lodged a strong protest with Sri Lanka on the award of a tender to a Chinese company to set up three renewable energy projects in outlying islands off the Jaffna peninsula.
The protest was triggered by the Department of Information releasing the decisions of the Cabinet about the approval of the Hybrid Renewable Energy Systems in the Delft Island, Analaitivu and Nainativu on January 18.
The USD 12 million projects have been awarded to MS/Sinosar-Etechwin Joint Venture in China based on the recommendation given by the cabinet-Appointed Standing Committee on Procurement. (Colombo/Feb24/2021)
Reported by Imesh Ranasinghe