Technology, Research and Atomic Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka yesterday maintained that since 2012 the Lanka Coal Company (LCC) which was the sole importer of coal to Sri Lanka had been doing so without adhering to proper tender procedure.
Minister Ranawaka was responding to the Power and Energy Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi at a press conference held at his Ministry premises yesterday.
It was reported that the Minister Wanniarachchi as having said that the CID had commenced investigations into a recently imported consignment of coal for the Norochcholai Power Plant.
According to Wanniarachchi two ships which brought coal in September 2012 could not unload full consignments owing to inclement weather. “Therefore an agreement was reached with the supplier to sell the 85,891 MT coal consignment and supply Sri Lanka a similar quantity of coal conforming to the same standards at the same price subsequently; besides an urgent tender for five shipments of coal was awarded to recover the loss incurred.
Minister Ranawaka said that the Lanka Coal Company which was set up in 2009 was the only legally approved company to import coal to Sri Lanka and the Sri Lanka Shipping Corporation (SLSC) was only supplying the transportation.
He also noted that the LCC was imported coal from Nobel Company.
But in the said incident the SLSC had imported the coal without the knowing of Ceylon Electricity Board or Power and Energy Ministry and the coal was imported from Taurian Iron and Steel Company (Pvt) Ltd (TISCL) during rough seas when there was no proper environment to unload the coal and the imported coal was also not up to the required standard.
However the Minister noted that he had immediately called a meeting with the relevant official and urged them to reject the consignment of coal. But finally they unloaded coal on the instructions of the Attorney General.
He alleged that former Chairman of LCC, T.M. Herath was removed from his position as he was unable to obey his instructions.
“But after I left the office in 2012 he was reappointed as the Vice Chairman of CEB,” he said.
Ranawaka said the instant highlighted was just one incident but there were lots of other huge corrupt deals occurring in the country at present, therefore the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) urged the government to set up a special constitutional authority to look into those corrupt deals.
Minister Ranawaka called on the government to conduct of a thorough investigation into the incident and to take legal action against the culprits impartially.
There was a huge entrenched mafia in the power industry and there was a powerful group of white collar criminals behind that mafia, he charged.
(Courtesy: The Island)