Broadlands 35MW hydro power project to begin in May?

By Ifham Nizam

The Attorney General’s Department is expected to soon give the green light to proceed with the construction of the much delayed 35MW Broadlands Hydro Power Project.

Broadlands will be the last plant in the Laxapana complex on the Kelani River.

The Island reliably learns that everything has been finalized and put in place after calling for bids internationally. Probably, by the end of this month, the project would get the ‘go ahead’ from the Attorney General’s Department.

Officials are positive that the project would commence in May.

According to Power and Energy Ministry officials, Broadlands Project Director, Dr. Kamal Laksiri and his team were doing their utmost to speed up the progress under the instructions of Power and Energy Minister, Patali Champika Ranawaka.

The estimated cost of the project is USD 82 million, of which 85 per cent would come from the Chinese Government and the balance from the Sri Lankan Government.

The 35MW plant would generate 126 million units of power annually.

Recently, Minister Ranawaka said the project was delayed due to the delay in finalising the commercial agreement.

According to Ranawaka: "There are some clauses in the agreement that have to be addressed and the matter is now before the Attorney General’s Department. Once the department completes its work, the agreement could be finalised when the Chinese bank, that provides the loan, agrees to it."

The government is to raise 85 per cent of the US$ 82 million required for the project from China’s ICBC –Industries and Commercial Bank of China- and the remaining 15 per cent from the People’s Bank. "It is important that both parties have to agree on terms and conditions. That may be one of the reasons for the delay, apart from the Attorney Generals Department," an official said.

The construction of the hydro power plant has been assigned to the China National Electric Equipment Corporation (CNEEC), which has presented the lowest bid for the project.

It is learnt the Broadland Hydro Power project had been in fact included in the master plan for electricity generation that was prepared about three to four decades earlier.

The project has therefore been in the pipeline for several decades without being implemented by successive governments.

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