Colombo, Mar 23: The Lankan government has decided to expedite the proposed multi-million dollar mega undersea power transmission deal with India to deal with power crisis in the country. Quoting Power and Energy Minister John Seneviratne, the Colombo-based English weekly, The Sunday Times said that a senior official from his ministry would lead a delegation to India for this purpose with a preliminary feasibility report about this deal which has already been completed.
According to the report, the 450 million dollar proposed power deal, first of its nature, electricity would be imported through a 200-km long submarine cable from Madurai in Tamil Nadu to Thalaimannar, Mannar and Anuradhapuara in Lanka.''A substantial part of Sri Lanka's demand for electricity would be met by this project and the cost of electricity would come down once this and the two coal power projects in the pipeline (Norachcholai and Trincomalee) are completed,'' Minister Seneviratne has been quoted as saying. It was only last week, the Rajapaksa government increased the electricity rate by 30 per cent from March 15, coupled with a 30 per cent surcharge for those using more than 90 units a month, leaving millions of people, who are already struggling with spiralling cost of living, to further struggle.
According to the Minister, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has agreed to provide funds for this project that could be set up in 40 months after the signing of the deal.
The government determination to expedite this power project has come at a time when the radical Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, a former partner of the ruling coalition, has publicly accused India of leading the international Responsibility to Protect (R2P) campaign in Sri Lanka and vowed to defeat such moves.