A high ranking official of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) told Ceylon Today, that the procurement process of the power and energy sector has come to a standstill due to the political crisis existing in the country.
The reason − there is no Cabinet at present.
On occasions when a Cabinet does not exist, the Standard Cabinet Appointed Procurement Committee (SCAPC) also gets annulled.
The official said that a number of Tender Procedures, which should receive Cabinet approval, have been halted.
There is a strong argument as to whether President Maithripala Sirisena has the authority or not to approve decisions, which should be usually done at Cabinet level, during a time when the Cabinet is not in operation.
Under these circumstances, if the political crisis is not solved immediately, a risky condition could arise......in the power and energy sector, which is an essential service, the officer warned.
“The country could be in darkness,” he also warned.
In this backdrop, importing the 300,000 tons of coal required for the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant, which is done only once in six months, has become a serious problem. The reason is that Cabinet approval has to be obtained for this purpose.
The Norochcholai Power Plant supplies more than 50 per cent of the daily power demand of the country. Coal cannot be unloaded between April and September, when the seas are rough.
The Tender for importing the annual quantity of coal, valued at Rs 5.4 billion, required for the Norochcholai Power Plant, has also come to a standstill.
“Would we have to stop supplying power to the people due to the crisis created by politicians?” the spokesman questioned.
According to him, from 26 October onwards, the CEB is maintaining only small-scale procurements which only require the approval of its Chairman, General Manager and Board of Directors.
“Tender procedures, both local and international, which have to receive SCAPC approvals, have collapsed totally.”
As a result, power lines cannot be put up and grid substations cannot be built.
At the same time, rehabilitation which should compulsorily be done in Power Plants, has come to a complete standstill. What the CEB is doing at present is simply maintaining its daily work. In addition, in certain projects, the Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC) is carrying out work.
But we cannot award the Tenders in connection with these,” this official added.
Prior to this political crisis commencing, the Tender finally awarded by the CEB was for the 100MW Wind Power Park Project due to be launched in the Mannar basin.
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