It is revealed that a draft has been compiled secretly, with the approval of the Cabinet Sub Committee on Economic Management, to sign, within a short period, an agreement that would hand over electricity, petroleum and gas, the three main energy sources in Sri Lanka to India. It is said that the draft has been compiled to cover several economic sectors including roads and railways.
An intense dialogue exists regarding handing over Hambanthota Harbour and the adjoining areas to China and it is stated that this agreement too has been prepared secretly and has been approved by the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Economic Management appointed by the President. This subcommittee headed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe consists of SLFP Ministers including Ministers Duminda Dissanayaka and Sarath Amunugama.
It is said that according to this agreement Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and Indian Oil Company (IOC) would be amalgamated, all tanks in oil tank farm in Trincomalee would be leased out to IOC for 50 years, a gas tube network between Indian and Sri Lanka will be constructed , a 500 megawatt power station near the oil tank farm would be built and a 50 – 100 megawatt solar power station would be built at Sampoor according to this agreement.
On the 4th officials of both India and Sri Lanka have agreed to form a power supply committee to implement the “cooperation in economic projects’. It is stated that plans will be drawn to develop the Trincomalee Port and establish a petroleum refinery and other industries there. They will also encourage Indian companies to invest in a Container Terminal in the Port of Colombo. It is also planned to set up Industrial Zones/Special Economic Zones in identified locations in Sri Lanka, o develop Dambulla-Trincomalee road as an Expressway through joint investments by India and Sri Lanka,.to develop roads in Sri Lanka including Mannar-Jaffna and Mannar-Trincomalee highways to develop railway sector in Sri Lanka including new projects of track upgrading and purchase of rolling stock, and to encourage Indian companies to invest in a Container Terminal in Colombo Port, considering that majority of transhipment in Colombo Port is related to India.
It is also stated that provision has been made to amend or supplement provisions by the two sides agreeing to them in writing. Whilst disputes are to be settled “through mutual consultations,” either side would be entitled to terminate the agreement by giving three months’ notice.
Signing of ETCA between Sri Lanka and India which most economists in this country said would be disadvantageous to Sri Lank a had to be abandoned due to protests that came up in all parts of eh country. Now the government is attempting to bring in the same agreement in some other form.
Source: ‘Lanka Irida’