JVP agitates against Sampur coal power plant with India


by Dasun Edirisinghe

JVP Parliamentary Group Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake and Western Provincial Council member Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa at yesterday’s media briefing. (Pic courtesy: JVP Media)

The government decision to sign the Sampur coal power plant agreement with India, despite opposition by a section of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) engineers and the former subject minister, was a severe threat to the country’s national security, the JVP claimed yesterday.

Addressing the media at party headquarters in Pelawatte, JVP Parliamentary group leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake alleged that former Power and Energy Minister Champika Ranawaka had lost his portfolio due to submitting a report to the Cabinet regarding the financial and other losses that would result from the Sampur coal power plant if they went ahead as a joint venture with India’s National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC).

"There are two power sectors in our country, the petroleum and electricity," Dissanayake said, adding that 33% of petroleum industry was already handled by India.

Dissanayake said that the CEB had the sole authority on electricity generation and distribution, but private companies had been allowed to enter the business by an Act passed in Parliament in 2008 by the Rajapaksa government.

Accordingly, Indian NTPC had signed the agreement for the Sampur coal power plant with the CEB, MP Dissanayake said, adding that the government had appointed a new minister to facilitate the purpose removing former minister Ranawaka.

The national list MP said that though several breakdowns in the Norachcholai coal power plant constructed under the build, operate and transfer (BOT) system it was handed over to the CEB by the Chinese company, but Sampur plant would go as a joint venture and for the first time in history a foreign company would own a power plant built in Sri Lanka.

Dissanayake said that the interference of the Indian government in Sri Lankan affairs through their fully owned business ventures was a major threat to national security.

"It was a shame to hand over 500 acres at Sampur to the Indian company, while the real land owners have been resettled in other areas after the war victory," the JVP MP said.

JVP Western Provincial Council member Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa also attended the briefing.

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