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Indians, Chinese competing for energy projects

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Indian business tycoon Gautham Adani and his team and officials from Sinopec were in town this week to discuss energy projects in Sri Lanka, top officials said.

During President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s visit to India recently, the Adani Group had given a commitment to complete work on the 500 MW Solar and Wind project in Mannar and Pooneryn by January 2025.

“India-SL grid connectivity, Green Hydrogen, Oil pipeline connectivity, and energy sector investments were discussed during the discussions held with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other officials. The Adani Group was in town to further discuss these investments. Their total investments will be around US$ 2.2 million,” an official said. He added that the Adani Group was very interested in green hydrogen.

Meanwhile, Finance Ministry officials said that the Adani Group was also interested in public transport sectors such as railways and buses. On Tuesday Minister Bandula Gunawardena, Minister of Transport and Highways, said that the Sri Lanka Railway Department is set to undergo a significant restructuring process. While the Sri Lanka Railways (SLR) will not be privatised, the Adani Group may be taken on to make the Railways more productive, a ministry official said.

In other developments, the Sinopec team was in town to discuss the oil refinery, which is around $2.2 million and is to be established in Hambantota, he said.

Sri Lanka and India have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on renewable energy, Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekara said recently noting that, “MOUs on Renewable Energy Cooperation, Trincomalee Energy hub development was entered into during the visit (to India) and the energy permit for the Sampur Solar Park was issued for the joint venture between CEB and NTPC of India to commence work.”

(sundaytimes.lk)

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IMF approves Sri Lanka program review

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The International Monetary Fund has approved a review of Sri Lanka’s program, Foreign Minister Ali Sabry has said.

On a X post, he has said, “This achievement is a testament to our dedication to driving forward economic reforms and securing a prosperous future for all Sri Lankans.”

According to the State Minister of Finance – Shehan Semasinghe, “a favorable outcome from the review is expected to unlock the 3rd tranche of approximately USD 330 million”.

The IMF had earlier said Sri Lanka had made “sufficient progress” on debt restructuring for a review on June 12, despite final deals pending with bilateral creditors and private creditors.

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Another probe related to Easter Sunday attacks

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe has appointed a Committee of Inquiry to investigate the actions taken by the State Intelligence Service (SIS), Chief of National Intelligence (CNI), and other relevant authorities concerning prior intelligence received about the bomb attacks on April 21, 2019. This decision follows the findings of the Final Report of the Commission of Inquiry, dated January 31, 2021, which highlighted that Indian Intelligence agencies and other sources had provided advance warnings about the impending attacks.

The Committee of Inquiry will be chaired by Ms. A.N.J. De Alwis, Retired Judge of the High Court. Other esteemed members of the committee include SLAS special grade Officer Ms. K.N.K. Somaratne and Senior Lawyer Mr. W.M.A.N. Nishane, AAL. 

The committee’s mandate includes examining whether actions or measures were taken by the SIS, CNI, and other relevant authorities based on the prior information or intelligence on an impending attack on April 21, 2019 by Indian intelligence agencies and any other sources and if so, adequacy of the actions and measure taken by the SIS, CNI and other relevant authorities. 

Additionally, the committee will investigate the circumstances surrounding the Directorate of Military Intelligence’s (DMI) and Criminal Investigation Department’s (CID) initial belief that the Vavunathivu killing of two police officers on November 30, 2018, was connected to the LTTE. This belief was held for four months before suspects with alleged links to the National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ) were identified.

A compact disk containing the Final Report of the Commission of Inquiry on the Bomb Attacks of April 21, 2019, has been provided to the committee. The President has authorized the committee to inquire relevant officials and examine pertinent documents to thoroughly investigate these matters.

Ms. Sarathanjali Manoharan, Senior Assistant Secretary to the President, will serve as the Secretary to the Committee of Inquiry. The committee is expected to submit its report, including findings and recommendations, to the President by September 15, 2024.

(President’s Media Division)

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New, free train ride for pilgrims visiting Mihintale (Video)

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Cabinet Spokesman Mass Media Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardena has said that a new short train ride between Anuradhapura and Mihintale will be arranged for pilgrims during the Poson season.

He said this at the Cabinet briefing held today (June 12) at the Government Information Department.

Since work on the Northern railway line have been delayed, 400 special buses will be deployed to Anuradhapura instead during the Poson season, he added.

Noting that a special railway line from Anuradhapura to Mihintale has been reconstructed,  the minister said that Sri Lanka Railways has been directed to arrange special, free train rides on this line for pilgrims.

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