A committee is to be appointed to resolve an electricity supply issue affecting the entire southern province.
The decision to appoint this committee came at a meeting chaired by president’s chief of staff Sagala Ratnayake.
It has been proposed to lay electricity lines with a 220 kw capacity between Polpitiya and Hambantota to link the province to the CEB’s main supply line.
The related project on an ADB credit has been launched, but has since hit a snag as 600 metres of the transmission line has to go over a private tea estate.
Its owner demands a huge compensation to grant permission, and has been changing the sum from time to time.
The government estimate places a Rs. 1.6 million payment, but she has demanded Rs. 9.6 million.
Her employment with an affiliate institution of the World Bank has aggravated the issue.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe has directed that an estimate be obtained from an independent evaluator and a committee appointed to make the required coordination to settle the dispute.
Accordingly, Ratnayake has tasked the Public Utilities Commission with appointing the committee.
Five districts, including those in the southern province, are supplied with electricity generated by Samanala Wewa reservoir.
The CEB has warned the government that in cases of the reservoir’s water level running alarmingly low, the entire province will have to experience hours of power-cuts.
Electricity bought from a private supplier in Embilipitiya is inadequate to provide a 24-hour supply.