Unveiling the Adani Scam in Sri Lanka — Insights from Rohan Pethiyagoda

The projected payout to Adani, amounting to a staggering $22.35 billion USD, rivals the infamous bond scam of 2015 in financial magnitude, exacerbating the nation's fiscal crisis and eroding public trust in governance.

1 min read
Rohan Pethiyagoda [Photo: LMD]

In a recent video exposé by renowned Sri Lankan biodiversity scientist, Rohan Pethiyagoda, shocking revelations have emerged regarding a major wind power project awarded to Adani Green Energy Sri Lanka Limited by the Ministry of Power and Energy. Pethiyagoda, a distinguished amphibian and freshwater-fish taxonomist, author, conservationist, and public-policy advocate, brings to light critical flaws in the project’s environmental assessment and economic viability, shedding light on a scheme that threatens both the nation’s natural heritage and fiscal stability.

Pethiyagoda’s meticulous analysis of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) conducted for Adani’s Mana wind power project exposes it as a mere facade, lacking in scientific rigour and accountability. Despite Mana Island’s status as a vital bird sanctuary, the assessment fails to address the project’s potential social, economic, and ecological consequences adequately. With 52 colossal wind turbines planned for installation, towering up to 220 meters tall, the project poses an imminent threat to the island’s fragile ecosystem and avian biodiversity.

Drawing on extensive research and scientific evidence, Pethiyagoda highlights the critical importance of Mana Island as a migratory bird pathway, hosting millions of birds from diverse species annually. Satellite tracking data, meticulously collected over several years, unequivocally demonstrates the region’s significance for avian migration, contradicting the EIA’s dismissive stance. Moreover, Pethiyagoda underscores the devastating impact of high-tension power lines on bird populations, a concern raised by scientists and conservationists alike, which has been conveniently overlooked in the assessment process.

Economically, Pethiyagoda exposes the project’s dubious financial arrangements, wherein exorbitant prices negotiated with Adani for energy procurement far exceed market rates, signalling a substantial loss for the state over the project’s 25-year duration. The projected payout to Adani, amounting to a staggering $22.35 billion USD, rivals the infamous bond scam of 2015 in financial magnitude, exacerbating the nation’s fiscal crisis and eroding public trust in governance.

Through his impassioned plea, Pethiyagoda urges the government to reconsider its support for the Adani wind power project and prioritize the preservation of Sri Lanka’s natural heritage. He calls for a comprehensive reassessment of the EIA, inclusive of consultation with scientific experts, to ensure transparency and accountability in decision-making processes. Pethiyagoda’s commitment to environmental conservation and advocacy serves as a beacon of hope amidst the prevailing threats posed by unchecked development and corporate exploitation.

The Adani scam, as exposed by Pethiyagoda, serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need to prioritize environmental sustainability and ethical governance in all developmental endeavours.

Sri Lanka Guardian

The Sri Lanka Guardian is an online web portal founded in August 2007 by a group of concerned Sri Lankan citizens including journalists, activists, academics and retired civil servants. We are independent and non-profit. Email: editor@slguardian.org

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