|Tuesday, 13 July 2004|
by Rajmi Manatunga
The Government will shortly call tenders for the Upper Kotmale Hydro-power project which was on hold for the past few years.
Power and Energy Minister Susil Premjayanth told the Daily News yesterday that the Government will go ahead with the project expected to cost an estimated Rs 92.8 billion.
"The Upper Kotmale project was never halted. We are preparing documents to commence work. It will add 150 Megawatts to the national grid," Minister Premjayanth said.
The Japanese government offered financial assistance for the construction of the Upper Kotmale hydropower plant in 1992 and work was scheduled to commence in 2002.
However, the implementation of the project has continuously been postponed owing to opposition by the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) and various environmental organisations.
"The Japanese Bank for International Co-operation (JBIC) allocated funds for the construction of the power station in March 2002 and the project has been implemented according to the decided procedure since then. We also had a number of discussions with those opposing the project," Project Director Shavindra Fernando said.
However, the authorities pointed out that the project has been approved by the Central Environmental Authority after a thorough study.
"The Upper Kotmale project along with the other proposed power projects will save the funds spent on generating thermal power thereby greatly reducing electricity prices," a spokesman for the Ceylon Electricity Board said.
Produced by Lake House