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More memoirs of escapades at KDU

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by Nilakshan Perera

(continued from last week)

On July 23, 1983, when the LTTE ambushed 14 Army personnel including Lt Waas Gunawardena, we were at Ratmalana Air Force hangar to receive and assist Security Forces personnel. We will never forget the tragic scene of the special Y-8 plane carrying 14 dead bodies wrapped in polythene landing at Ratmalana. The next day onwards we were deployed for Internal Security duties. That was a somber period that opened our eyes to the stark realities of military life. However, no sooner the situation in the country became somewhat normal we too reverted to our usual routine.

Though we could move around with other students at University we were strictly instructed not to engage in any form of ragging as it will lead to the suspension of our studentships as well as being discharged from KDA. Among the next batch of university students, a few happened to be the daughters of some senior officers. For ragging, we asked them to bring us packets of home-cooked lunches wrapped in “kehel kola” with dhal, pol sambol & fried dried fish and asked one of them to get us a good machete so that our midnight operation (plucking kurumbas) could continue after the machetes used earlier had been confiscated. We also asked themto take us to Hotel Rahima (biryani), Venice Ice cream Parlor, or Shanthi Vihar for dosa. They were all good sports and readily obliged.

After one of the dinner nights, we were tasked the next day to rearrange the tables and chairs (we were the juniors throughout our cadetship at KDA as no new cadets were admitted due to protests over KDA entry by various student movements), and the job was going to be quite a task as long distances had to be covered with the tables and chairs. Fortunately, the Duty Officer of the day told us to use the Army 1210 TATA truck provided there was a volunteer driver. Only two of us could drive during our cadet days, but we grabbed the chance and did the unloading and rearranging and then drove back via Airport Road, Borupone Rd, Ratmalana Station Rd – a journery of about two hours. The truck was perfectly parked at the vehicle yard with all 14 of us seated comfortably inside at the end of the assignment.

Lt Dushantha Chelliah of Sri Lanka Navy (he retired as Commander in 1995 and migrated to Canada) took over as our Troop Commander. He came directly from Naval Maritime Academy where he was the Asst Division Commander (the Course Officer of Admiral Ravi Wijegoonawardane, former Chief of Defence Staff). He was a great cricketer who played for Royal College, Sri Lanka Navy, and Defence Services as an opening batsman. He was a strict disciplinarian and didn’t tolerate any nonsense. We were fortunate to have played either football, cricket or rugby matches with teams of several foreign naval ships visiting Sri Lanka. These games were played either at Welisara Navy grounds or S. Thomas’ College grounds, Mt. Lavinia, thanks to Lt Chelliah.

In addition to sports, he also helped us with our studies and with his

contacts. We had our very first sea experience of a voyage from Galle to Colombo onboard SLNS SAGARAWARDANA. (Sadly now it’s at the

bottom of the sea). We were given on-board training of most naval operations We all loved the food that was served on board the vessel with all kinds of fresh seafood on offer. Lt Chelliah had also introduced us to maintaining a Journal. We had to write details of events that took place daily and submit our records to the troop commander by Monday morning at 0700hrs before leaving for campus. He returned the journals marked and corrected the same evening when we returned. Before doing anything else, we read and redid the corrections knowing the consequences if we did not do so. It was a great lesson we learned and we still maintain historic information and important dates.

Few of the most undisciplined cadets were made to measure the depth of Sir John’s lake near the summer hut as punishment. The water was not that salty but the smell of muddy water and different types of rotting vegetation and small fish lingered in our overalls. That was all part and parcel of our training and we still cherish the experiences.

Changing uniforms for parades had to be done to split second precision. We had to get ready in 30- 40 seconds and report to Sir John’s bungalow in a couple of minutes – a maximum of two to three minutes for running back to billets which were 750 meters away and returning to stand at attention in a place where a spotlight was focused. Cadets couldn’t move beyond that point. Lt Chelliah would come to the balcony and see/instruct us on the next kit change and timing. This will go on for about 20-30 minutes. Some tried shortcuts by placing all kits – civil, white PT, battle order uniform and recreational kit – under a coconut tree on the grounds and changing there rather than running back to billets.

Our profound gratitude to you Sir, for who we are today – dedicated disciplined gentlemen officers. Though he was a strict disciplinarian he always respected us cadets and trained us to be the best. He punished us when we did wrong with the good intention of making us better officers so that we too will train our subordinates in the same way in the future.

Normally on Poya Days, we had bana for about an hour, preached by one of the Buddhist monks from Bellanwila Raja Maha Viharaya. Having this in mind, on the day before Poya, we took our civil clothes and left them at a friend’s place on the other side of runway of the Ratmalana Airport.

This particular Poya day in Dec 1983 also happened to be a Saturday which suited us fine for our escapade. While the rest of the cadets were plucking araliya flowers for the bana, five of the worst rascals crossed the runaway to our friend’s place for a quick change into the civilian clothes left there and then scooted off on trip to Sri Pada. We caught the 9.40 am Udarata Menike express train and got to our destination.

We didn’t have any plans for meals but for our good luck, while climbing the mountain we made friends with a very nice family with four pretty daughters. They looked after us very well with food and soft drinks and all we did accompanying them to the summit. We returned their hospitality by carrying all their belongings down the mountain as we had nothing to carry ourselves. This was easy as we had carried heavy backpacks and weapons as punishments and for training and compared to those what we carried for our friends was nothing.

Two of the daughters of that family became popular pediatricians and one a well-known banker. We were fortunate to have met them and still are in touch. We managed to return to KDA secretly by 4.55 am on Monday to be mustered for PT at 5.30 am. All went well but the Air Traffic Controller at the Airport had spotted five cadets wearing PT kits crossing the tarmac. But he had not reported it to KDA as he was a good friend of one of the cadets. We owe him for not reporting his observation to our superiors; and also the rest of our batch-mates, who who covered for us by putting down our mosquito nets and pretending that all of us were asleep in our billet. The duty sergeant on his night round saw all nets down and thought 14 cadets, including us absconders, were sleeping soundly.

We were the very first Intake to decline the leave given for Sinhala/Tamil New Yearone year. We were given four days off but it was hardly enough time for Saliya Weerakkody, whose home was at Diyatalawa, to travel to and fro with the travel time alone two days. We requested more days of leave on behalf of Saliya but when this was refused, all of us said we’d stay back at KDA. Because of us many others from the training staff, naval catering, medical, and transport also had to sacrifice their leave. We were very well served for our ‘solidarity’ with pack-drills, in the morning, afternoon, and evening continuously on all five days. As a result of this became fitter and tougher and also well united and bonded.

Mess Assistants from the Navy and two waiters were dead scared of us as we used to complain about the quantity and quality of food etc. to duty officers who had to either instruct the catering staff to cook separately for us or reach the proper standard. Because there was only the 14 of us in the camp at that time, our unity and comradeship was very high. Only two of us had girlfriends when joining KDA and whenever a love letter was delivered by post, the recipient had to read it aloud for everyone to hear. Others hardly received any letters even from parents but on our own we posted letters to ourselves, just to pretend that we too were getting mail. Few of us were so well known at the Ratmalana Post Office that letters addressed with only a name and Ratmalana reached us. With no WhatsApp, Viber, FB, Twitter and Instagram then, we used to have many singsongs. Preethi would sing Amaradeva’s Minidada Heesara, and Upul Wijesinghe, Mal Warusawe. Just Walking in the Rain was Damian’s favourite while Thiru contributed Maha Re Yame. There were a lot of M.S. Fernando’s songs and baila sung too.

Shantha Liyanage used to do ‘bat drills’ as he played cricket for University and Lal Padmakumara, being a jack of all trades, advised even carpenters and masonry workers at construction sites at KDA. Manoj was glued to James Hadley Chase’s books, one after the other, but Dimuthu had other plans. He used to take us fishing at Bolgoda lake and Panadura bund. Whether we like it or not, we too went with him. He knew all the culverts in the Borupone area, where guppies breed. Only later did we learn that he had fished the best Mermaid of the Kanangara family consisting of three daughters who lived down Borupone Road. That was Nalika (Dr. Nalika Gunawardena, former Senior Lecturer at Medical Faculty Colombo and presently at WHO as National Professional Officer) Catholics among us were allowed to attend Sunday Mass at nearby St Mary’s Church in Ratmalana and Buddhists went to Bellanwila Temple. While returning to KDA we used to check if Dimuthu’s Dad’s EN 2876 black Morris Minor was parked under the portico of the Principal’s bungalow(highly respected Mr.

Cyril Gunawardane was the Principal of the Deaf & Blind school) and if the car was there we were sure of a good dinner and a free ride to KDA with Dimuthu. We’ll never forget Uncle Cyril and Aunt Dolly’s wonderful hospitality and unconditional affection for all of us.

Whenever we were invited for a birthday party (especially girls’ 21st birthday parties) or any other social gathering we got permission but had to return before the 10.00 pm roll call so that the Duty Cadet could report that all 14 of us were there and no one was sick. In case the Duty Cadet wanted to check, he would call them personally by 2200 hrs but not later. Whoever had gone out had to walk along the Kandawala Road would look at our top floor bathroom window. If a green towel was hung there, he could go back to the party and come for the next day’s PT by 5.30 am. A red towel signaled “return immediately.” Coming back we had to navigate a 12 ft. high barbed wire fence.

We were fortunate to have our first ever CADET BALL in December 1984. We were asked to bring our dancing partners and most of the pretty girls of Moratuwa and Colombo Universities were there on the floor. It was all organized by Cadets of Intakes one, two and three and we were well trained in all aspects of hosting these functions very well by our Officer Instructors.

We had the privilege of associating with Military Academy Intake 16, 17, 18 & 19 Cadets on their Unit visits, and having a football match played at railway grounds and also several Cadet Intakes of Naval Maritime Academy Intakes 11 & 12 and China Bay Air Force Academy. Among these cadets, there were two future Army Commanders, Three Navy Commanders, and two Air Force Commanders.

We were also fortunate to have the remarkable company of a few great Air Force flyers like Jayanthalal Thibbotumunuwe, TTK Seneviratne, and Ruwan Punchihetti as they were attached to KDA while doing their flying training at Ratmalana. Sadly all three of them died in action later, (Wing Cmdr. Thibbotumunuwe in Nov 1996 at KKS and Pilot Officer TTK Seneviratne & Officer Cdt Ruwan Punchihetti in May 1995 during a Sia Marchetti training flight accident at Beruwala)

In our last year, five of our batchmates captained University teams.

Dhammika (rugby), Saliya (football), Damian (basketball), Dimuthu (rowing) and Ruwan Upul (athletics). After completing the University final exams in Nov 1985, four joined the Navy, another three joined Air Force and seven others joined the Army for their advanced and further training, saying goodbye to KDA, where we had spent almost three years and three months. Our passing out parade held in Aug 1986, with Mr. Lalith Athulathmudali, Minister of National Security, as the Chief Guest.

Thanks to General John Kotelawela five of our batch-mates found their life partners from Colombo University and two got married to two

doctors from the Medical Faculty while two others wed lawyers from

the Faculty of Law. One found his bride in the Faculty of Science.

After joining the respective services our cadets excelled in their duties to the country at the highest level, especially at sea. Manoaj Jayasooriya, Preethi Vidnapathirana, and Dimuthu Goonawardena played aleading role in defeating Sea Tiger craft and engaging with Sea Tiger cadres face to face many times. For bravery and selfless acts, Manoj was promoted to the rank of Commander while at sea (Field/Sea promotion) by the Commander of the Navy in Feb 1999.

November 19, 1997 was perhaps the saddest day for the officers of Intake three when news was received that Lt Preethi Vidanapathirana, one of the most disciplined and adorable of our batch mates and a dear friend, has made the supreme sacrifice during one of the fierce sea battles in Mullaitivu.

The evening before, three batch mates Manoaj, Dimuthu and Preethi sailed from Trincomalee harbor as directed by the Commander Eastern Naval Area along with a flotilla of ships and crafts on an offensive patrol to disrupt an enemy movement that was due to take place between Thiriyaya and Mullaitivu.

Manoj who commanded the prestigious Fast Attack Craft Flotilla (FAF4) twice in his career after perfecting the art of naval battle, joined this important operation displaying his tactical leadership taking quick and vital decisions in battle. His presence in the theatre was undoubtedly a morale booster to all. Preethi was in Command of another FAC, P452 and Dimuthuin Command of a Chinese Gunboat SLNS Ranawickrama tasked to neutralize enemy launching pads along with SLNS Ranarisi. The two gunboats and eight Dovras engaged targets both at sea and on land to prevent a Tiger logistic move. The battle which is considered one of the bloodiest at sea lasted from approximately 2100 hrs on Oct. 18, to 0330 hrs on October 19, 1997. In the ensuing battle, Preethi having successfully attacked one of the enemy clusters was hit by a high caliber gun mounted on the bows of an enemy boat which immediately immobilized him, paving the way for two enemy suicide boats to ram his vessel sinking it within seconds approximately 3.5 nautical miles off Kokilai.

By this time, the enemy was forced to abandon its logistic move and return to base and what remained at sea were their two offensive clusters. Preethi was one of the best swimmers of his time and shone both in Ananda College, KDA and at the University of Colombo. As the incident occurred quite close to the shore, Manoaj and Dimuthu scoured the area for the next 24 hrs hoping to find and recover Preethi and his crew. But there was no sign of them.

Preethi was posthumously promoted to the rank of Lt Commander having been killed in action. We never forget to leave out Preethi’s beloved wife, Dr. Dayani Panagoda (Senior Technical Specialist Global Communities at USAID/SCORE) at our gatherings for she too is a part of our Intake family.

Manoj retired from the Navy as Commander in 2002. For his gallant and meritorious conduct in battle, he had been decorated fourteen (14) times by the President of Sri Lanka and he remains the most decorated officer in the Navy with this record has not been broken to date. He is a proud recipient of Rana Wickrama Paddakkama (RWP) seven times and Rana Sura Padakkama (RSP) seven more times. He is presently Executive Director of a well known Motor Company and Director/General Manager of a famous Engineering Company.

Dimuthu retired as Rear Admiral in April 2018, and presently functions as Director Communications and Publications at the Institute of National Security Studies having served in several senior positions in the naval hierarchy with his distinguished naval career recognized with awards on several occasions. Shantha Liyanage retired as Major General in Feb 2018 and held the prestigious appointments as Colonel Commandant Army Service Corps and former Commandant Army School of Logistics. He is recipient of PSC, and LSC.

Lal Padmakumara retired as Major General in Sept 2017 and was the former Director Budget & Finance Management of the Army, also the recipient of PSC and HDMC Damian Fernando retired as Rear Admiral and was the former Director-General Budget and Finance of the Sri Lanka Navy, proud recipient of USP, VSV, Purna Bhumi Medal too. Major General Dhammika Pananwela retired in Nov 2018, functioned as Commander Security Forces East, also a proud recipient several times of RSP for bravery, NDU for academics and was trained to bring death to the enemy from the sky. A qualified combat parachutist. Palitha Sirimal retired as Lt Col in 2002 and is at present he is a Director of a semi-governmental organization.

Ruwan Upul Perera retired as Wing Commander in Aug 2005 and is looking after his coconut plantations and other properties in Marawila.

Upul Wijesinghe is the Deputy Chief Executive of one of the largest Life Insurance Companies in Sri Lanka and also former President of the Sri Lanka Insurance Association. Others are well settled abroad like Thiru Amaran (Sydney) Shantha Edirisinghe ( London) Saliya Weerakkody (Melbourne) and yours truly in Singapore.

We salute all our senior officers of Intake one and two for their insightful guidance and patience, tolerating all our acts of misbehavior.

I take this opportunity to thank from the bottom of my heart my fellow batch mates of Intake three for the wonderful memories and camaraderie and humbly salute my brother officers who made the supreme sacrifice. During these past 38 years, we were united not just in friendships but in brotherhood and comradeship.

You guys truly are The Best

 

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Features

Renewable energy share in power generation – President misled by advisers

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Continued from yesterday

by Dr. Janaka Ratnasiri
PROPOSALS FOR DEVELOPING
RE PROJECTS

In 2017, an inter-ministerial committee (IMC) has made a set of recommendations to the Cabinet to install in the short term several utility scale solar PV systems, wind energy systems and biomass energy systems, and these were approved by the Cabinet of Ministers. These projects included solar power projects comprising three large utility scale projects at Pooneryne (800 MW) and two sets at Syambalanduwa (2×100 MW) along with 300,000 roof top systems providing 300 MW and several small-scale systems each below 10 MW adding to 500 MW in places of high solar insolation. The building of a 100 MW floating solar PV system was previously approved by the Cabinet. These projects will add up to a total capacity of 1,900 MW which could generate about 3,329 GWh annually assuming 20 % plant factor. Cabinet approvals were granted on 16.12.2016 for building a Solar Power Park of capacity 100 MW in Siyambalaanduwa.

The CEB has already initiated development of a wind energy farm at Mannar and plans to develop more in the Jaffna district. A total capacity of 650 MW is to be developed generating nearly 1,708 GWh of electricity. In addition, a SLSEA Report dated 27.03.2019, says that several proposals for developing RE projects submitted since 2016 by investors received the approval of the SLSEA, but these have been held up as the CEB has not agreed to sign the necessary power purchase agreements with them, on grounds that that they were not selected after calling tenders as required in the Electricity Act. These projects held back by the CEB were expected to add 3,052 MW of RE capacity generating 6,923 GWh of energy annually, comprising 925 GWh from mini-hydro plants, 3553 GWh from solar plants, 2063 GWh from wind plants, 237 GWh from biomass plants and 145 GWh from waste-to-energy plants.

Section 13 of the Electricity Act says “requirement to submit a tender on the publication of a notice under this subsection shall not be applicable in respect of any new generation plant or to the expansion of any existing generation plant that is being developed on a permit issued by the Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority, established by the Sustainable Energy Authority Act, No. 35 of 2007 under section 18 of that Act for the generation of electricity through renewable energy sources and required to be operated at the standardized tariff and is governed by a Standardized Power Purchase Agreement approved by the Cabinet of Ministers or on an offer received from a foreign sovereign Government to the Government of Sri Lanka, for which the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers has been obtained”. Hence, denial of approval by the CEB for RE projects for which permits have been issued by SLSEA is a misinterpretation of the Act. The President has given clear instructions that such barriers against the private sector involving in developing RE projects be removed.

A summary of the above RE projects that could be developed by 2030 long with the commissioned and permitted RE projects are shown in Table 5.

It is seen that the total generation potential from RE sources including those already installed, projects for which permits have been issued, utility scale projects approved by the Cabinet and projects permitted by the SLSEA and awaiting acceptance by the CEB add up to 15,026 GWh annually. This is 4,670 GWh short of the generation required from RE sources to reach the target of 80%, which is 20,500 GWh as shown in Table 4. This can be achieved by installing additional solar PV plants, wind power plants and biomass plants, with generation shared among them each share depending on the availability of resources and economies.

POTENTIAL FOR DEVELOPING
RE PROJECTS

Sri Lanka has a large number of reservoirs both ancient and recently built covering an area about 43,000 ha in the North Central and Eastern Provinces where the solar insolation is high (Arjuna Atlas). Since solar PV panels require about 1 ha for every 1 MW of installed capacity, installation of solar panels covering at least 10% of the area of the reservoirs has the potential to generate about 7,000 GWh of electricity annually from 4,000 MW of installed capacity. This could be achieved with the concurrence of the Irrigation Department (ID).

An all island Wind Energy Resource Atlas of Sri Lanka was developed by National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) of USA in 2003, indicates nearly 5,000 km2 of windy areas with good-to-excellent wind resource potential in Sri Lanka. About 4,100 km2 of the total windy area is on land and about 700 km2 is in lagoons. The windy land represents about 6% of the total land area (65,600 km2) of Sri Lanka. Using a conservative assumption of 5 MW per km2, this windy land could support almost 20,000 MW of potential installed capacity (SLSEA Website). 

Last year, the Cabinet declared 2022 as the year of Biomass Energy with the objective of promoting energy generation from biomass. Already, SLSEA is pursuing a project funded partly by UNDP and FAO for “Promoting Sustainable Biomass Energy Production and Modern Bio-Energy Technologies” with the specific objective of removing obstacles to the realization of sustainable biomass plantation, increase of market share of biomass energy generation. Currently, a survey is being undertaken to identify land available and suitable for energy plantations. It is expected that by 2030, biomass technologies could add about 500 GWh of energy to the system.

It is clear therefore that Sri Lanka has the resources to develop RE projects exceeding the amount required to meet the 80% share in total electricity generation by 2030. Coordination and cooperation among stakeholder institutes such as CEB, SLSEA and ID are prerequisites for realizing this target.

FINANCIAL BARRIERS AGAINST
ACHIEVING THE TARGETS

It may be recalled that in 2015, nations adopted the Paris Agreement at the Climate Change Summit Conference held in Paris, undertaking voluntary reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that contribute to global warming and in turn causing climate change. Concurrently, the Conference announced that “developed countries commit to a goal of mobilizing jointly USD 100 billion dollars a year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries in meeting their obligations under the Paris Agreement”. Though the Cabinet has taken a decision to build 650 MW of wind power plants and 1,900 MW of solar power plants in 2017, there has been no progress possibly due to lack of finances or investors for implementing the projects.

The easiest way of reducing GHG emissions is to shift from fossil fuels to renewable sources for the generation of energy. Hence, it is possible to get financial assistance from various financial mechanisms set up under the Climate Change Convention (CCC) to defray costs incurred in shifting to renewable energy sources, for which proposals need to be submitted to the CCC Secretariat through the Ministry of Environment who is the focal point for CCC in Sri Lanka. It is the writer’s understanding that Sri Lanka has not sought any financial assistance from these sources.

As a side event at the CCC held in Paris in 2015, a programme called the International Solar Alliance (ISA), was launched by the Prime Minister of India and the President of France on November 30, 2015, with the objective of scaling up solar energy applications, reducing the cost of solar power generation through aggregation of demand for solar finance, technologies, innovation, research and development, and capacity building. The ISA aims to pave the way for future solar generation, storage and technologies for member countries’ needs by mobilizing over USD 1000 billion by 2030, according to the India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) website (https://mnre.gov.in/isa/). Sri Lanka is also a signatory to the agreement signed at the launching ceremony.

It was reported in the Sunday Island of 26.07.2020 that India’s state-run National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd has offered to set up a solar energy park in Sri Lanka under the aegis of ISA. Being a member of ISA, Sri Lanka should welcome India’s offer to build a solar park in Sri Lanka under ISA. Under the terms of ISA, India only facilitates sourcing of funding and services and the host country has the ownership for the project, who is required to do the preliminary ground work to seek funding. According to a reliable source, the CEB is not keen in pursuing this offer as it is not a tendered project. However, there is provision in the Act as shown above to accept this offer if it is deemed to be a project offered by the Government of India which it is. This again is a misinterpretation of the Act.

PROBLEMS FACING IN EXPANSION
OF RE SYSTEMS

When more and more RE systems are built, their integration into the national grid may pose some problems. One is the rapid variation of the output of solar and wind systems. With the development of software that could forecast these variations on-line, it is possible to increase the penetration of RE systems into the grid. If necessary, CEB may acquire this technology from any foreign country who has already implemented high penetration of RE into their system. It is also important that all solar and wind plants strictly conform to specifications, particularly in respect of voltage and harmonics control.

Another is the need for storage for saving the electricity generated during the daytime by solar systems for use at night time. There are several options for this too, among which are using high capacity batteries, build pump-storage reservoirs and generate hydrogen from day-time power.

A report by JICA on Electricity Sector Master Plan Study in Sri Lanka released in March, 2018 considered the option of generation with 100% renewable energy sources by 2040, recommending that to meet the deficit of power arising out of continuing high cloud cover for several days, storage batteries need to be installed at an estimated cost of USD 1,000 million which may have life-time of only 5 years.

Another JICA report on Development Planning on Optimal Power Generation for Peak Demand in Sri Lanka released in February 2015 considered building a pump-storage system with capacity 600 MW on Maha Oya near Aranayaka with a head of about 500 m at a cost of USD 700 million. This is also included in the CEB Plan.

However, another option that could be implemented without incurring any additional costs is to utilize the existing hydropower reservoirs where energy generated by solar systems could be stored. This is by avoiding generation of hydro power by an amount equivalent to that generated by solar systems during daytime. This saved hydro power is then available for using during night time (see article by Chandre Dharmawardana in The Island of 15.07.2020). The saved energy will get enhanced due to prevention of evaporation when the reservoirs are covered with solar panels.

There is much interest among developed countries to use hydrogen as an energy carrier and for storage. In a report published by CSIRO in Australia on National Hydrogen Roadmap in 2018, the possibility of generating hydrogen utilizing Australia’s vast potential for RE for both local application and for export was considered. Hydrogen systems can provide both electricity grid stability (i.e. seconds to hourly storage) and grid reliability (i.e. seasonal storage) services. Hydrogen generated from stand-alone solar and wind plants along with fuel cells can be used to generate electricity as and when necessary.

A third problem often cited by CEB is the lack of capacity of the transmission system to accommodate energy generated by RE systems as planned. According to the CEB, installing more than 20 MW of wind capacity in any given region may adversely impact local grid stability and power quality (NREL Study, 2003). This problem could be solved by improving the substations in outstations and increasing the capacity of transmission lines connected to them.

It was shown in Table 4 that in order to achieve 80% of generation from RE sources, it is necessary to deviate from the CEB’s LTGE Plan as shown in Table 4. However, the 2013 Electricity Act requires that any addition of capacity should be done while meeting the requirements of the CEB LTGE Plan. Hence, either the CEB Plan needs to be revised or the Act needs to be amended. Otherwise, the CEB may not consider implementing the adjusted scenario even though it meets the President’s policy.

CONCLUSION

With the existing and permitted RE projects along with those approved by the Cabinet and SLSEA, it will be possible to generate electricity 4,600 GWh short of the amount required to meet the target of 80% of generation from RE sources. This amount could easily be generated from a combination of solar, wind and biomass systems. Hence, there is absolutely no need to revise the President’s target of 80% to 70% as decided at the meeting held on 14.09.2020.

It is also essential to explore the possibilities of sourcing funds for adopting RE sources in place of fossil fuels which are available internationally because of the saving of GHG emissions. This will reduce the country’s burden on financing the RE projects. Perhaps it is time the President gets advisers with commitment to green energy who will give him the correct advice. It is a pity that when there is political will it is absent among the professionals concerned.

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Features

Cattle slaughter ban and common sense 

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By Rohana R. Wasala

Continued from yesterday

Desperate times call for desperate measures. For all communities in general who make Sri Lanka their home, and for the majority community in particular, these are desperate times indeed. However, cattle slaughter is not one of the burning problems that make the times desperate for them. There are much more serious problems they are faced with such as the menacing, so-called MMC Compact, the deleterious Yahapalana constitutional legacy – 19A – that prevents the executive and the legislature from readily restoring the democracy,the independence of the judiciary, and the rule of law and  the communal harmony that it effectively destroyed, the inevitable Covid-19 related economic consequences in the form of devastating blows on large income generating sources such as the tourism based hospitality industry and skilled and unskilled foreign employment, disruption of domestic industries due to mandatory lockdowns, social distancing, and other health restrictions imposed on physical movements in order to meet the pandemic emergency, all leading to the new administration’s dedicated attempts to eliminate the drug menace and other forms of crime and corruption even more challenging and even more difficult than they are. 

Don’t the Ven. Mahanayake monks  and leading lay Buddhists have to devote their attention to barefaced threats to the Buddha Sasana both within it and outside of it, such as bogus Arhants explaining the Dhamma in idiosyncratic ways that confuse the average Buddhists with little education in the philosophy of Buddhism (the majority) for whom it is a religion like any other, and even egg them on towards faiths that look more promising to them; disguised non-Buddhist men and women in yellow robes  spreading superstitious beliefs and practices under the label of Buddhism; proselytising preachers and faith healers misappropriating Buddhist symbols to enmesh credulous innocent Buddhists in their superstitions; some truly ignorant or viciously ill-meaning You Tubers circulating the patent myth that Gautama Buddha was born, attained Enlightenment, and preached the Dhamma in Sri Lanka, ignoring the abundance of established historical evidence that proves that he was indeed from the subcontinent, and making money by turning out videos that feature illiterate ‘scholars’ who save their skin by hiding behind the hypocritical slogan ‘Here is the evidence. Believe it or leave it’, but they adduce only fake evidence. The Buddhist leaders must put their own house in order before driving our beleaguered nation into further crisis by trying to reform the world.

It is not that the monks and lay Buddhists who are agitating for a ban on cattle slaughter have forgotten what they can learn in this regard from the Buddha Gautama’s own policy of not forcing morality on people, but of helping them adopt moral behaviour by understanding evil as evil and good as good through self realization as illustrated in  the story about Chunda Sukara/Sukarika (Chunda the pig killer/keeper/professional pork seller). This pig keeper slaughtered his pigs after torturing them in unimaginably cruel ways. And he was a neighbour of the great sage. But he never responded to his teaching of avihimsa and eventually died a wretched death, unreformed.

Perhaps we can learn something from India in this regard. According to the Wikipedia, India  (pop.1.3 billion) is nearly 80% Hindu (with 14% Muslim, and 6% others). Beef eating is generally taboo for Hindus. It’s been estimated that the number of vegetarians in India equals the number of vegetarians in the rest of the world put together. But it seems to adopt a relaxed attitude towards cattle slaughter. The law governing cattle slaughter varies from state to state, and is flexible in some states. “On 26 May 2017, the Ministry of Environment of the Government of India led by Bharatiya Janata Party imposed a ban on the sale and purchase of cattle for slaughter at animal markets across India, under Prevention of Cruelty to Animals statutes, although Supreme Court of India suspended the ban on sale of cattle in its judgement in July 2017, giving relief to beef and leather industries”. So, the cattle slaughter ban in India was made ineffective even before it was hardly implemented.

No doubt, this was a disappointment to prime minister Modi, his BJP, and others who supported the ban. It is no less so, it is interesting to learn, to most Muslims of India as well. Researchers Naghmar Sahar and Rashid Kidwai of the Observer Research Foundation of India say: “The majority of Muslim leadership in India has, all along, been always in favour of a nationwide ban on cow slaughter, but somehow successive regimes have refrained from banning it” (India Matters/Aug. 12, 2019/ ‘A century of giving up beef: Muslims demand nationwide ban on cow slaughter’). Muslims have been making this demand in deference to Hindu sentiment, in the interest of peaceful coexistence with Hindus. The useful lesson in common sense we can learn from India’s experience with cattle slaughter banning is too obvious to need explaining. 

Can’t the Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians who disapprove of cattle slaughter think of an easier and more efficient way to minimise it (as eliminating it is impossible) than trying to impose unenforceable legislation to completely ban cattle slaughter? Just stop eating beef!

Concluded

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Murderers or Dual citizens?

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I wrote a piece the other day about dual citizens in Parliament. My bias was towards letting them in for various reasons that I detailed. The responses were so varied and so interesting that I thought I would share them. Around 70% of those who wrote to me seemed to agree that Dual citizens with their experience, discipline and real-world conditioning would contribute positively. However, there was a good 30% who disagreed.

The arguments of the dissenters ranged from abuse to racism to negative values. I even had an insinuation that I was a spin doctor, running a spin for the Government. That one hurt the most! We had people say that Dual citizens were opportunists and shysters who if allowed in to parliament would only lead the country down that path. Excuse me! We don’t have those in the house already and is there any opportunistic, money grabbing unprincipled path left for our people to be led down? There was a Tamillian who wrote saying what would you do if Indian dual citizens came and tried to get into parliament? For Goodness sake! Does India allow dual citizens and even if they do how would that matter at all, or WOULD IT? There were a whole lot of value statements from fine upstanding citizens of the Pearl, citizens who have stood by silently watching decades of ruin, saying how their wonderful values and precious culture would be degraded by those with foreign values and standards. The most awesome one of all was how those who had pledged allegiance to another flag would have divided loyalties! Firstly, what is “pledging loyalty”, is it standing in some room and taking an oath (which is the maximum required) or just going to a crowded hall, singing or lip synching a national anthem and collecting your certificate (which is much more common)? So, what is binding about that? How on earth does it compromise your behaviour in any way? What is to stop you from being disloyal to a country? What do spies and those networking with diplomats gathering information do that is different ?

There were those who said that if you wanted to get into parliament you should renounce your dual citizenship like our current fearless leader has done. Do you think anyone but a raving lunatic would not leave the option open to return to another country if they had it, and come and work in the Pearl, after what has been done to the last few people who tried to give a hand? I won’t name names, I will let you think about that O revered readers. Let alone this, the Pearl is in such utter and hopeless shambles that not even the most qualified, genius in this world would undertake a task with any level of confidence or certainty of success. In those circumstances, what do you do when those who enticed you to come and try, pretend they don’t know you and consign you to the sharks when the hopeless task ends in disaster? Advocating jumping into a cesspit to try and clear a block with no means of getting out, when you have a means, is what those esteemed readers are telling people to do. To each his own they say.

The most fascinating thing about some of the replies was that they were longer than what I had written in the first place! I try to stick to around 1000 words per column. Most of those classic literary works exceeded that meagre amount by a huge margin. They could have proudly occupied the centrefold of a newspaper. A foray into psychology makes one wonder why those people don’t write direct to the editor, is it because they don’t wish to disclose their identity and hide behind the anonymity of the internet or is it due to a lack of self-confidence …?

Anyway, why is this a debate at all? The esteemed house of representatives of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka has sworn in a convicted murderer as an MP. Now does this mean that a dual citizen of another country is automatically classed as having committed something more than a capital crime? The Pearl has hit the headlines all over the world for another spectacular achievement! What’s more the “highly literate” population voted this man in. Holy c…! This really defies any further comment. Does it also mean that not a single member of the overcrowded house of representatives has enough self-respect to RESIGN and say that he or she doesn’t want to be classed as a criminal by association? This action or inaction as the case may be, finally allows me to “rest my case” and be assured of victory when I say that not one single member of parliament is worth her or his salt.

Can I move on to another favourite subject of mine, the decimation of the UNP. I read the other day that another nephew has been lined up to be groomed for leadership of the Uncle Nephew Party. What utter rubbish! Don’t the people who make these decisions realize that actions of this nature are what have led to the destruction of the party? Or on the other hand has the wily fox set somebody up for the high jump? Tell you what, having watched the man in action, I would be very careful if I was the chosen nephew.

I say give the leadership to someone else. Preferably, someone from outside the party. Someone with a proven track record of leadership and ability to organize a team and instil the will to win. How about one of two people in the whole of the Pearl who has a world class achievement under their belt? We have one person who won the Cricket World Cup and another who has destroyed one of the most powerful terrorist networks of his time. What are these people doing now? They are largely ignored and not given any sort of recognition by the very people who vote murderers into parliament and make howls of protest when dual citizens are considered for high office.

Give the UNP to the Field Marshall I say, if he is interested, and make sure that Captain Cool is his deputy. Then at last we may have a future for our beloved ex pearl of the Indian Ocean. A future with a home-grown leadership and no requirement for dual citizens. The type of leadership that may even cause a brain drain in reverse, like what is happening in Aotearoa at present.

The real estate market is going berserk by all accounts in Aotearoa. Many expatriates who have been doing highly paid jobs are coming back. They are buying houses on line, without even physically looking at them. Could be due to control of Covid-19 in NZ and the current level of communications that allow anyone to work from almost anywhere? However, there must be at least a modicum of belief in the governance of the country and the direction we are being steered in. This is home grown leadership and from people who do not have even the semblance of the track record and achievements that the aforementioned gentlemen from the Pearl have.

No, we don’t recognize achievements in the Pearl, do we? We admire thuggery and accept allegiance and oaths of loyalty from convicted murderers.

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