In the backdrop of contradictory statements about the China Sat 12 Communication Satellite launched into the orbit recently, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe today asked whether China was using Satellite Orbit slots allocated to Sri Lanka in this case.
Making a statement under Standing Order 23(2), Mr. Wickremesinghe said the local media announced the launch of Sri Lanka’s satellite named ‘Supreme SAT -1 whereas the foreign media announced the launch of such a satellite called China Sat 12 Communication Satellite by China.
He said that Sri Lanka’s outer space was free for the use of all states in the world according to International Law.
“The Constitution of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) makes provision for the allocation of Satellite orbit slots to be registered with the ITU. Sri Lanka too is entitled to such slots. The media does not specify whether China SAT 12 Communication Satellite is utilizing a slot allocated to China or Sri Lanka,” he said.
He also said Supreme SAT (Pvt) Limited , a Board of Investment(BoI) company had entered into an agreement with China Great Wall Industry Corporation to co-brand this satellite as Supreme SAT 1. He asked the government to make a detailed statement on this matter.
Mr. Wickremesinghe requested the government to give details about the satellite orbit slots allocated to Sri Lanka, the system followed in selecting a party for the country’s satellite project, the total cost for SupremeSAT, the shareholders and directors of SupremeSAT (Pvt) Ltd.
Besides, he asked the government to table the agreements between BoI and SupremeSAT (Pvt) Ltd, China Great Wall Industry Corporation and SupremeSAT (Pvt) , Government of Sri Lanka and SupremeSAT (Pvt) Ltd, and the project proposals.
Chief Government Whip Dinesh Gunawardane said the subject minister would give a reply tomorrow in Parliament.
In lighter vein, Mr. Wickremesinghe said, “I would like to know whether the Minister is in the orbit.”
Mr. Gunawardane responded, “He will definitely land on December 8 to give you a reply.” (Kelum Bandara and Yohan Perera)