India, Sri Lanka sign pacts for 500-MW power project

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Colombo, Oct 7: India and Sri Lanka on Monday signed agreements for a 500-MW thermal power project to be jointly developed by state-owned NTPC with a local partner here.

A total of eight accords were signed for the Sampur power project in the presence of visiting External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and his Lankan counterpart G L Peiris. The power project, to be fired with imported coal, would be developed by Trincomalee Power Company - an equal joint venture between NTPC and Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB).

"With the conclusion of the Sampur project-related agreements today, we hope we will be able to commence work on the ground and pick up pace for completion by 2016," Khurshid said. The agreements pertain to various aspects of project to set up a coal fired power project of 500 MW capacity, through a 50:50 Joint Venture between NTPC Ltd and the CEB.

The signing of pacts for the plant comes close on the heels of India and Bangladesh inaugurating two power projects on Saturday and reflect stronger regional co-operation in this sector. These pacts include those related to power purchase, land lease and coal supply.

Electricity generated from the plant, which would have two units of 250 MW, would be supplied to CEB. Coal for the project would be imported and supplied by Lanka Coal Company (LCC), while land would be given by the Sri Lankan government on a long term lease.

Even though the agreement for the joint venture project was signed in late 2011, various differences between NTPC and CEB had been delaying further progress. India's largest power producer NTPC has an installed generation capacity of 41,184 MW.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Technical Assistance in support of the 10-year National Plan for a Trilingual Sri Lanka was also signed after the bilateral talks between Khurshid and Peiris.

The MoU was signed between High Commissioner of India YK Sinha and Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. "I am also hopeful that, through the MoU for implementation of the Trilingual Plan, we will be able to contribute to this important initiative, thereby aiding national reconciliation and promoting harmony between the various linguistic communities in Sri Lanka," he said.

The MoU envisages assistance in development of Trilingual (Sinhala, Tamil, English) training skills and expertise in Sri Lanka under which India would provide 180 days of expert services every year in teaching technique and extend training to 45 Sri Lankan Master Trainers for three years starting from 2013.

PTI

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