Indian companies have bagged multiple renewable energy projects in economically battered Sri Lanka at favourable terms ignoring local developers pushing the island nation on the wall taking advantage of man made economic crisis, several energy experts claimed. .
The government of India has offered US$ 3.5 billion worth of credit lines to Sri Lanka to help the island country navigate through the economic peril it faces.
In the wake of the present social political and economic crisis Indian power sector giant Adani Group is looking to expand its footprint in Sri Lanka, either through Indian government intervention or direct negotiations with the Sri Lankan government,energy experts alleged.
Adani Group, one of the largest renewable energy generators in India, recently signed a memorandum of understanding to develop 500 megawatts of renewable energy projects in Mannar and Pooneryn provinces. The group is expected to invest $500 million to set up these projects.
There was no official announcement or statement yet on the agreement to jointly execute renewable power projects in Mannar, on Sri Lanka’s north-western coast, and Pooneryn, located just south of Jaffna Peninsula.
Both projects are in the Northern Province, where New Delhi objected to a Chinese energy project last year, citing proximity to the Tamil Nadu coast.
The agreement was inked on Friday, the same day that the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) of India and the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) agreed to set up a 100 MW solar power project in Sampur, in the eastern Trincomalee district.
The development comes months after Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani visited Sri Lanka and held talks with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, on possible investments in the island nation.
Sri Lanka has a daily peak demand of over 2000 MW, and is currently experiencing a severe fuel and power shortage, resulting in right hour-long power cuts across the country that citizens’ groups have bee Kanchana Wijesekera s n protesting.
Front line opposition politicians and energy experts accused New Delhi of resorting to “diplomatic blackmail” by tying emergency financial support extended to Colombo, to strategic projects and “several maritime security arrangements”, to counter China’s “naval expansion”.
“The Reserve Bank of India has USD 631 billion in reserves. Sri Lanka is asking for one billion. It was press-ganged to sign Sampur and other projectsThis was diplomatic blackmail. India has 74 days of oil reserves in stock, but is finding it so difficult to help a “friend and neighbour” in difficulty without making it cringe, crawl, and concede its national security interests and neutrality in the name of India’s own “strategic calculations”,they added