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Mystery surrounds dropping of two vital hydro power projects by CEB during yahapalana rule 



35MW Broadlands Hydro power plant expected to be completed next month

By Ifham Nizam   

The Power Ministry will go all out to complete the 35MW Broadlands Hydro power plant next month especially to cut down expensive oil fired power generation and avoid emergency power purchases.

The plant was scheduled to be completed last December but it got delayed due to the non- availability of top Chinese experts owing to the pandemic, but, with their return, the Ministry is confident of getting it completed now. Forty five Chinese experts are in the process of completing the plant.

With the commissioning of the plant, the CEB would be able to save more than Rs. 10 million a day. In 2020, CEB losses were Rs. 60 billion as against Rs 85 billion in the previous year, a senior official said.      

The 35 MW Hydro Power Plant will generate 125 million units or 125 GWh annually saving Rs. 3.75 billion.      

Members of the CEB senior management recently visited inside the 3.5 km tunnel of the 35MW Broadlands Project on the initiative and instructions of the Presidential Task Force led by Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa.      

The 35 MW plant over the Kelani Ganga at Kitulgala is constructed by the Chinese government-owned China National Electric Equipment Corporation while consultancy and monitoring are handled by the Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau of Sri Lanka.      

The estimated cost of the project is USD 82 million and it is partly financed by a USD 69.7 million loan from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. The balance is financed by the Hatton National Bank of Sri Lanka.      

The Broadlands project is the last plant in the Lakshapana cascade power station complex on the Kelani River system.      

The construction of the plant would prevent some 88,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year. A unique feature of the project is that it is Sri Lanka’s first large-scale hydro power plant associated with the Clean Development Mechanism established under the International Kyoto Protocol.      

Plans have been prepared to construct an energy park, including a hydro power museum in the area expecting the area to become a tourist attraction      

Senior engineers of the CEB said that sidelining two important hydro power projects, which were scheduled to go into operation from 2015, were among some controversial proposals included in the Board’s previous Least Cost Generation Plan.      

A senior engineer said that the plan to sideline crucial and inexpensive hydro generation projects cost the CEB a minimum of Rs. 5 billion annually as it had to rely on costly thermal power to meet the shortfall in supply. “That resulted in a loss of Rs. 20 and Rs. 25 billion since 2015,” the official said      

The Broadlands 35MW and Uma Oya 120MW hydro plants were scheduled to commence operations by the start of 2015, as per the 2011 plan. However, they had been removed from the 2011 and 2013 plans for some unknown reason, an official said.      

It had to be investigated, according to senior engineers who pointed out that the delay in constructing hydro plants would have adverse cost implications.

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U.S. Ambassador to UN Agencies in Rome Cindy McCain to visit Lanka



Colombo, September 23, 2022: United States Permanent Representative to the UN Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome Ambassador Cindy McCain will visit Sri Lanka from September 25-28 to highlight U.S. food assistance programs in Sri Lanka and reinforce the U.S. commitment and lasting partnership with the island nation.

In addition to meeting with senior government officials and aid organizations in Colombo, Ambassador McCain will join U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung to travel to Central Province to visit schools, agricultural research facilities, and community organizations and meet with recipients and implementers of relief provided through U.S. government-funded humanitarian assistance programs.

The United States is the single largest country donor to the three United Nations food and agriculture agencies, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the World Food Program (WFP).  U.S.-funded UN projects showcase how the U.S. government, the UN Food and Agriculture Agencies, and the government of Sri Lanka collaborate to reduce food insecurity and advance humanitarian relief, livelihood protection, and agriculture-led economic growth, especially at this critical time of increased global hunger.

The United States has provided partnership and assistance to the people and government of Sri Lanka for more than 70 years.  Since June, Ambassador Chung has overseen the announcement of nearly $240 million in new U.S. government assistance to Sri Lanka, including U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Samantha Power’s September 2022 announcements of an additional $40 million to provide Sri Lankan farmers with fertilizer and $20 million to meet immediate humanitarian needs in the country.

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President urges SL diaspora in the UK to invest in their motherland



By Sujeeva Nivunhella
reporting from London

President Ranil Wickremesinghe last week urged the Sri Lanka diaspora in the United Kingdom to invest in Sri Lanka projects to revive the economy. Addressing a gathering at the Sri Lanka High Commission in London, he said that he is proud that the British Sri Lankan community for making a mark in every field of the UK economy such as trading, services, business, and requested them to come together as Sri Lankans and people of Sri Lankan origin to help build the motherland.

The President added that Sri Lanka is looking at transforming its economy to a competitive export-oriented one to meet the current challenges and build social systems and modernize the education system.

He remarked on the special affection Queen Elizabeth II had towards Sri Lanka as the Head of the Commonwealth and the longest serving Head of State of Ceylon for 20 years prior to the nation becoming a Republic and stated that her passing is the end of an era.

The president, first lady and party arrived in London on Sept. 17 via Dubai by an Emirates flight to attend the State Funeral Service of Queen Elizabeth II.They were received at the Heathrow airport by High Commissioner Saroja Sirisena and were driven to the Intercontinental Hotel in Park Lane, London where they stayed.

On Sunday (Sept. 18), the President accompanied by the First Lady and High Commissioner attended the Lying-in-State of the late Queen at the Palace of Westminster which was followed by a Reception hosted by His Majesty King Charles III at Buckingham Palace.The President and the First Lady attended the State Funeral Service held at the Westminster Abbey on Monday (Sept. 19).  On the same day, he signed the Book of Condolence. The Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs James Cleverly MP hosted a reception for the visiting world leaders at Church House.

On 20th September, the President met the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland QC. They discussed Sri Lanka’s engagement with the Commonwealth Secretariat and matters of mutual interest. He also visited the London Buddhist Vihara during which Ven Dr Bogoda Seelawimala, Chief Incumbent of the Vihara and the Chief Sanga Nayaka of Great Britain invoked blessings on the President and the people of Sri Lanka.

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Families countrywide facing malnutrition, says Cardinal



By Norman Palihawadane

Colombo Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith has warned that the prevailing economic crisis and increasing unemployment and food prices are accelerating malnutrition among hundred thousands of families countrywide.

Addressing a ceremony at the annual get-together of the Archdiocesan Family Apostolate Service held at St Peter’s College Auditorium in Colombo, the Archbishop said that it was a shame that responsible local officials keep denying the prevailing status quo when world humanitarian organizations such as UNICEF continue to warn of the increasing malnutrition levels among children.

Many international organizations have pointed out that malnutrition in Sri Lanka was increasing at an alarming rate but the authorities responsible are hiding the truth and go to the extent of rejecting such reports.

“If they reject the reports of international organizations, then it is their paramount duty of conduct proper surveys to understand the situation. It is no secret that large numbers of Lankan families are starving due to the high prices of food. According to the UNICEF more than six million people consume only a single meal a day. It is so unfortunate that Health Ministry officials who spend their times in the air conditioned rooms in Colombo do not know the plight of the poor in rural areas,” the Cardinal said.He said that 225 MPs were concerned only of their well-being while continuing to ignore the actual and pressing issues of people.

“This country is in dire situation today mainly due to inefficient and corrupt political leaders. It is sad that these so-called people’s representatives are not concerned of the situation of people who are experiencing the worst ever economic and political crisis this country has ever faced,” the Cardinal said.

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