Adani’s Wind Power Project Raises Concerns

Adani’s Wind Power Project Raises Concerns

While the details of Adani Green Energy Limited’s proposed Wind Power project in the Mannar District remain undisclosed to the Sri Lankan public, recent revelations from an appeal hearing indicate that the Board of Investment (BOI) has already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and granted preliminary approval to the Adani Group in early 2023.

This information came to light during an appeal hearing on January 4, 2023, where the Right to Information Commission directed the BOI to provide clarity on responses to an information request submitted by the Environmental Foundation Limited (EFL), a prominent environmental rights group in Sri Lanka.

The EFL’s request sought information on the signing of an MOU, the approval status of the project, and the specific location of the project, considering environmental concerns

During the hearing, RTI Commissioners Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena and Jagath Liyana Arachchi instructed BOI lawyers to clarify the status of all relevant approvals, emphasizing that the BOI failed to follow mandated steps under the RTI Act in denying the information.

Initially, the BOI refused information, citing confidentiality concerns as the Adani Group and Ministries, including the Ministry of Finance, had not given their consent for the release of information under Section 29 of the RTI Act.

Upon examination, it was revealed that this refusal was related to a separate request, and the BOI had not adhered to the specified procedures and timelines under Section 29 for the EFL’s request.

In response to the Commission’s directive, the BOI clarified that an MOU had been signed, a project proposal submitted, preliminary approval granted, and clearances obtained from relevant Ministries and state entities, including the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) and PUCSL.

However, the BOI stated that no agreement had been signed and the land for the project in Mannar and Pooneryn had not been identified. Consequently, environmental approvals were pending until the specific land was determined.

Civil activists in Mannar expressed concerns, highlighting the lack of transparency and public awareness surrounding a project that has progressed significantly. President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s announcement in Jaffna about potential renewable energy surpluses and exports to India adds to the urgency for more transparency in the planning process, especially in the Mannar District directly affected by the proposed project.

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