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Sajith raises corruption concerns over proposed solar power project

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Opposition Leader MP Sajith Premadasa has accused the government of corruption concerning the recently approved Solar Power Project in Killinochchi.

Issuing a special statement, MP Premadasa alleged that the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with an Australia-based firm – United Solar Energy raises doubts as the company engages in solar panel distribution and not Battery Storage projects.

Noting that the capacity of the largest solar energy farm in Australia is 400Mw, while the capacity of the planned solar farm is 700Mw, the Opposition leader questions how a company with lack of expertise can handle such a project.

Mr. Premadasa also states that according to estimates, the project requires a surface area of 782 acres while the project lifetime is stated as 35 years despite the lifetime of a solar panel is 25 years.

Noting that United Solar Energy is founded and chaired by Richard Vargas who is a solar panel agent and distributor, the opposition leader says that a one Sujeewa Nishantha from Hambantota is working as the company accountant. In addition, Board members Kero Thilakarathne, Alex Chandrasiri and Shan Balasuriya are working as a real estate agent, a hotel food & beverage manager and a website designer respectively, Mr. Premadasa adds, questioning whether such people are capable of undertaking such a mammoth project.

MP Premadasa’s allegations come after the Cabinet this week approved to enter into a Power Purchase Agreement with United Solar Group of Australia for the 700 MW  Solar Power Project with a 1500 MWh Battery Energy Storage System.

Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera announced the decision on X earlier this week.

He further said that the Solar Power Project will be established with a Foreign Direct Investment of USD 1,727 million and the power project will be installed on the surface of the Poonakary Tank in the Kilinochchi District in the Northern province of Sri Lanka.

Related News :

Cabinet approval for Power Purchase Project with Australian firm

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Additional Health Secy. to Court

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Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Health Dr. Saman Rathnayake who was arrested and remanded over the medicine procurement scandal was escorted to the Maligakanda Magistrate’s Court, to provide a confidential or In Camera statement.

Saman Ratnayake, who was interrogated for over seven hours, was arrested at the Criminal Investigation Department last Friday.

He was presented before the Maligakanda court last Saturday.

When the case was called, the magistrate remanded the suspect until March 14, considering the facts presented by the Deputy Solicitor General Lakmini Girihagama.

The suspect thereafter informed court via counsel of his willingness to provide a statement In Camera.

Therefore, the magistrate ordered the suspect to appear before the court on March 4, today, to deliver the confidential statement.

(News 1st)

(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by News 1st has not been edited by SLM staff)

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Electricity, petroleum supply, declared essential services

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An Extraordinary Gazette has been issued declaring all activities related to the supply of electricity and petroleum products as essential services.

The relevant gazette has been issued by the Secretary to the President Saman Ekanayake on Sunday (03) by order of the President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

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Fuel price revision likely tonight?

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A fuel price revision is likely to take place tonight (04), as per sources.

The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) stated that although the fuel price was slated to be revised at the end of February, the price revision will possibly take place today.

The CPC amends the fuel prices monthly as per the pricing formula. Accordingly, the prices were last revised on January 31, where the prices of octane 92 petrol, octane 95 petrol, super diesel and kerosene were increased.

Against this backdrop, President Ranil Wickremesinghe has issued an Extraordinary Gazette declaring all services connected to the supply of electricity and the supply or distribution of petroleum products and fuel as essential services with effect from 03 March 2024. 

Accordingly, the proclamation states that the services specified have been declared as Essential Public Service considering it necessary that the services provided by any Public Corporation or Government Department or Local Authority or Co-operative Society or any branch thereof being a Department or Corporation or Local Authority or Co-operative Society, which is engaged in provision of the services specified, is essential to the life of the community and is likely to be impeded or interrupted.

In the meantime, the Fuel Distributors’ Association alleges that the CPC has taken steps to incur a usage fee of 35% of the monthly rebate amount received by the fuel distributors. President of the association Shelton Fernando claimed that through this action, it will not be possible for them to even meet the daily expenses for the distribution activities.(adaderana.lk)

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