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US$ 2bn worth of wind energy projects stuck in limbo

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Four international companies — with an estimated US$ 2bn (Rs 729bn) worth of wind energy projects stuck in limbo for over two years — have sought an urgent meeting with President Ranil Wickremesinghe to break the impasse.

In a letter to the President, the local representatives of Mingyang Smart Energy Group Ltd, Envision Energy Ltd, Jade Power/Hydrostor and China Machinery Engineering Corporation pointed out that their projects were under consideration for more than two years by the Board of Investment (BOI), the Sustainable Energy Authority (SEA) and the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB).

They requested the President’s “urgent intervention to bring these projects to fruition as they are being long-delayed at massive cost to the country”.

The BOI is the lead agency in the initiative, the companies said, adding that all their projects were processed and recommended through expressions of interest called in 2021 by the State Ministry of Renewable Energy.

And, as early as October 2021, the previous Government’s Cabinet-Appointed Management Committee (CAMCI) had kicked off the approval process by seeking information from the SEA and the CEB on the respective investments, the letter said.

The companies, which have styled themselves as the Offshore Wind Energy Projects Promoters’ Group, claim that it was found their proposals fall within the scope allowed by a Cabinet subcommittee appointed in 2021—that is, that their applications do not conflict with any other applications for the locations mentioned. The subcommittee reportedly recommended on March 2022 that memorandums of understanding (MoU) be signed with six proponents (one has since dropped out).

“Of these, only one MoU was signed with Adani Green Energy,” the group states. “Subsequently, the CAMCI being non-operational, the remaining MoUs were not signed.”

While Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera and State Investment Promotion Minister Dilum Amunugama have both sought to expedite the projects, they have made little progress.

(Sunday Times)

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India, Sri Lanka Fishers Hold Firm on Fishing Rights

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Fishermen from India’s Rameswaram are demanding unrestricted access to harvest fish in the waters near Sri Lanka.

However, the Sri Lankan fishermen have reiterated their stance, asserting that there can be no room for concessions.

The recent sentencing of four Indian fishermen by the Delft court for trespassing in the Sea of Sri Lanka has ignited tensions, prompting protest actions among Tamil Nadu’s fishing community.

In response to the court’s decision, the President of Rameswaram Fishermen’s Association engaged in dialogue with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin.

“The fishermen detained in Sri Lankan prisons must be released. The boats held by the Sri Lanka Navy must also be released. As a permanent solution to the issue, Sri Lankan fishermen in Indian prisons, and Sri Lankan boats must be released,” said  P. Jesuraj, the Leader of the Rameswaram Fishermen’s Association.

The fishing community in Jaffna emphasize that there can be no further leniency or accommodation for any actions that violate established norms.

“The fishing community in the North have been very lenient with the fishermen from Tamil Nadu despite the use of Bottom Trawling to pillage our marine resources. Therefore, we will no longer allow them to pillage the Sea of Sri Lanka using illegal methods,” said Annalingam Annarasa, the Secretary of the Delft Fisheries Association.

(newsfirst.lk)

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“14.3% Surge in new HIV infections in 2023, reveals national program”

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The National Sexually Transmitted Diseases and AIDS Prevention Program states that the reporting of new HIV infections has increased by 14.3 percent.

This is higher in 2023 compared to 2022, director, Dr. Janaki Vidanapathirana, community medicine specialist said.
She said that last year, 694 new HIV infected people were identified, most of them were men, and the number is 611, which as percentage is 88%. Last year, 81 HIV infected women were reported, which is 11.7 percent as a percentage. It is also
reported that there are 4100 infected people in society.

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Sri Lanka to Host Digital Economy Summit in July

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The State Minister for Technology, Mr. Kanaka Herath, announced that the anticipated National Cyber Security Act will be introduced this year, followed by the establishment of the Cyber Security Authority.

Additionally, the State Minister underscored the preparations made for the Digital Economy Summit scheduled to take place in Sri Lanka by the end of July. The summit serves as a platform for fostering innovation, collaboration, and investment in digital technologies, thus propelling the country towards a more resilient and prosperous digital economy.

Speaking at a press briefing titled “Collective Path to a Stable Country” held at the President Media Centre (PMC) today (29),

State Minister Herath further said;

The digital economy, which previously stood at 4.73%, has now surpassed the 5% mark, indicating significant growth.

This expansion has notably bolstered the country’s overall economic resilience. To further enhance this momentum, preparations are underway for the Digital Economy Summit scheduled to take place in Sri Lanka at the end of July. The summit aims to attract both local and foreign investors, with collaborative efforts from foreign embassies, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Investment Promotion facilitating this initiative.

Furthermore, a sum of Rs. 50 million derived from the profits of Sri Lanka Standards Institution (SLSI) was allocated to the treasury in the previous year. In line with President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s proposal, a new initiative has been launched to uplift small and medium-sized industrialists, who constitute 52% of the country’s economy. This endeavour seeks to empower such enterprises technologically, offering them Good manufacturing practice (GMP) and SLSI certifications. Additionally, plans are underway to facilitate access to low-interest loans through the Asian Development Bank (ADB), with the ultimate goal of guiding these small and medium-sized industrialists into the market.

(dailynews.lk)

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