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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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Anton’s TU life celebrated in Kusal’s ‘Humanist Without Borders’

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A book celebrating fifty years of Mr. Anton Marcus as a Trade Unionist will be held in Colombo next week.

Mr. Marcus is currently the Joint Secretary of the Free Trade Zones and Public Employees’ Union.

The book entitled ‘Humanist Without Borders’ alongside its Sinhala version, will be launched on June 17, at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, Colombo from 3.30pm.

The books are penned by political columnist and analyst – Kusal Perera.

Emeritus Professor Jayadeva Uyangoda and the former president and general secretary of New Zealand’s ‘First Union’, Mr. Robert Reed, will deliver guest lectures.
Speaking to ‘Sri Lanka Mirror’ in this regard, Mr. Kusal Perera said:

“My effort in profiling Anton in this book that traverses the fifty years of his trade union life is in the context of Sri Lankan politics. It’s because he himself is a political creature. Therefore my reading said, despite all rights, decency, dignity enshrined in the Constitution, in International law and for all that Anton fought for, it was no easy task in a world of the filthy rich whatever honourable labels one would tag them with.”

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Modi expected to visit SL?

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A high level delegation headed by the State Minister of Foreign Affairs Tharaka Balasuriya is scheduled to visit Russia to arrange for the repatriation of Sri Lankan ex-military personnel deployed in Russia for military purposes and the related discussions will be held on June 26 and 27, said Minister of Foreign Affairs, President’s Counsel Ali Sabry.
The Minister also noted that a team of officials has been tasked with reviewing the Cabinet paper submitted to decide on Sri Lanka’s potential membership in the BRICS organization. Their report is anticipated later this month.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, President’s Counsel Ali Sabry, highlighted this during his participation in today’s (June 14) Press conference at the Presidential Media Centre, focusing on the theme ‘Collective Path to a Stable Country’.

The minister elaborated further, stating that they are also anticipating a visit from the Indian Minister of Foreign Affairs – S. Jaishankar followed by a visit by the Indian PM himself.

“President Ranil Wickremesinghe visited India to take part in the swearing-in ceremony of Sri Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India.  Consequently, we anticipate a visit from the Indian Minister of Foreign Affairs to Sri Lanka later this month, with the Prime Minister of India expected to follow suit shortly,” Minister Sabry has said.

He further noted : 
Recently, I attended the BRICS Foreign Ministers’ Conference in Russia, representing Sri Lanka. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has submitted a Cabinet paper to explore the possibility of Sri Lanka joining the BRICS organization. A team comprising officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Treasury, Ministry of Finance, and Central Bank has been tasked with studying this proposal. The Cabinet is expected to receive their report later this month.

Furthermore, discussions with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov focused on resolving the issue of Sri Lankan ex-military personnel serving in the Russian army. To address this, State Minister of Foreign Affairs, and a delegation including secretary to the Defence Ministry will visit Russia. These discussions are scheduled for June 26th and 27th. Concurrently, efforts have commenced to facilitate the safe return of Sri Lankans currently stranded in Myanmar.

(Excerpts : President’s Media Division) 

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Keheliya & 7 others further remanded

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Former Minister of Health Keheliya Rambukwella and 07 others have been further remanded until June 28 by the Maligakanda Magistrate’s Court over the import of substandard human Immunoglobulin vials.

This order was issued when the case was taken up before the Maligakanda Magistrate today (June 14).

Meanwhile, the Attorney General’s Department today informed the Supreme Court that it will not appear on behalf of former Health Minister Kehiliya Rambukwella and arrested NMRA officials over the case of purchasing medicines from two allegedly unregistered companies.

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