Joint venture coal power plant with Indians faces strong opposition

By Ifham Nizam

The Central Environmental Authority (CEA) has received more than 900 complaints against the setting up of the second coal fired power plant at Sampur, Trincomalee.

Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) engineers said that calling of tenders scheduled for later this month would be further delayed as a result.

Majority of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) engineers said the situation warranted the intervention of Power and Energy Minister Champika Ranawaka.

 "Being an Electrical Engineer, he is well aware of the disastrous consequences and he alone can put an end to detrimental clauses that give upper hand to the Indians," a senior engineer said.  

Public hearing came to an end earlier this month.

However, CEA Chairman Prof. Lal Mervin Dharmasiri said that most of the submissions were in Tamil and they had only one translator. Commenting on the submissions, he said there could be many positive comments as well. 

However, Power and Energy Ministry officials said that though it was a joint venture, everything was being done according to the whims and fancies of the Indian partner. CEB would score with its decision to go for another 500MW Japanese funded plant close to it, they said.

The joint venture partner, the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) of India has, after a delay of six months, submitted its proposals for an EIA to the CEA for the setting up of Sri Lanka’s second coal power plant earlier this year.

The venture, Trincomalee Power Company Limited, is responsible for the implementation and operation of the proposed 250MWx2 coal power plant complex. The total estimated cost of the project is USD 512 million.

It will comprise two 250MW generators whose power will be transmitted to the national grid via high voltage transmission lines from Sampur via Habarana to the Veyangoda Grid Substations.

Power Purchase Agreement, Implementation Agreement, BOI Agreement, Land Lease Agreement and Coal Supply Agreement were signed on Oct. 7, 2013 by relevant parties, including the government of Sri Lanka, the CEB and the Joint Venture Company. The project is expected to be commissioned before the end of 2017.

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