Minister Ranawaka questioned by Secretary Ferdinando

 

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Power and Energy Ministry Secretary M. M. C. Ferdinando has confirmed, in a letter, that former Power and Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka was familiar with the technical parameters and other commercial conditions agreed to between the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) of India and CEB in the draft power purchase agreement (PPA), which Ranawaka had called into question in his submission to the Cabinet, dated May 21, 2013.

 

Following our expose on July 5, regarding the observations made by the former Minister on CEB’s proposed Sampur Coal Plant, The Island learns that the Secretary has responded to Ranawaka’s allegations in a 15-page letter addressed to the Cabinet.

 

Ferdinando asserts that the statements Ranawaka has made in the above submission are “factually incorrect” and the former Minister was fully apprised by CEB officials of the PPA.

 

The Ministry Secretary also points out that Ranawaka appointed a high powered committee comprising eminent legal experts to review the PPA and that committee had cleared the PPA for signing.

 

Ranawaka directed Ferdinando, on Sept. 30, 2010, to forward several specific concerns on the draft PPA to the aforesaid committee. Ferdinando states that he forwarded the former Minster’s instructions to then Vice Chairman of the CEB Anura Wijayapala. However, neither Ranawaka nor Wijayapala, both electrical engineers, raised any of the issues contained in Ranawaka’s Cabinet submission dated May 21, 2013.

 

Further, on several occasions, Ranawaka obtained Cabinet approval to extend the validity of the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) signed between NTPC and CEB, assuring the Cabinet that the PPA was ready for signing.

 

Ranawaka also witnessed the signing of the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) between CEB and NTPC on Sept. 6, 2011 and extended a personal invitation to the Power Minister of India to participate in the PPA signing fixed for November 8, 2011.

 

Ferdinando has questioned why the former Minister repeatedly told the Cabinet that the PPA was ready for signing, presided at the JVA signing ceremony, and invited his Indian counterpart for the PPA signing, if he had any reservations about the draft PPA negotiated by CEB and NTPC.

 

The Secretary has dismissed allegations made by Ranawaka against the officials who signed the agreement as ‘baseless’.

 

Despite numerous efforts, former Power and Energy Minister and former Vice Chairman of the CEB, could not be contacted for comment. (the ISLAND)

 

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