Talks underway on controversial coal deal | Daily News

Talks underway on controversial coal deal

Negotiations have started between the government and Swiss Singapore Overseas Ltd. over the possibility of canceling the coal procurement tender that led to controversy, Power and Renewable Energy Ministry Secretary B.M.S. Batagoda said.


B.M.S. Batagoda

Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, the Secretary said the negotiations with the company started on Thursday. He said when the ministry consulted the Attorney General (AG) over the Supreme Court order, the AG asked to negotiate with the supplier over the possibility of canceling the tender.

He observed the Supreme Court in its ruling said the Lanka Coal Company “may” terminate the contract, but had not said it is a must.

 “If the company expressed its willingness to cancel the tender, we will cancel it and call for fresh bids internationally. If the company disagrees, we will put the matter before the Cabinet along with the report of the tri-member expert committee appointed by Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya,” he said.

He said the next round of talks between the Government and the company is scheduled for Tuesday.

The Ministry Secretary, Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) Chairman, its General Manager and Lanka Coal Company Chairman are participating in the negations on behalf of the Government.

“The company during the last round of talks asked for money. We, after explaining the matter, proposed to cancel the tender and also requested them to come up with their proposal,” he said. He said the tri-member committee is to give recommendations as to what should be the future course of action with regard to the matter after an in-depth study.

“The complaint that we widely came across is that the price of coal in the long term tender is higher than that of the spot tenders.

The long term tender is for two years. There is a gap between the prices between the spot tenders and long term tender awarded to the Swiss Overseas,” he said.

The expert committee includes Prof. K.K.Y.W. Perera, Prof. Lakshman R.Watawala and Prof. Janaka B. Ekanayake. Its report was due yesterday. The Daily News learnt that the Committee has finished the report, but as the minister was out of Colombo that the submission could be delayed. 


 

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