A woman in the employ of the World Bank is behind an electricity supply issue affecting the entire southern province, according to reports on weekend newspapers.
This has come to light during an inquiry to look into the delay in the electrification project.
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.
On a presidential directive, a committee is to be appointed to resolve this issue, with president’s chief of staff Sagala Ratnayaka directing the order to the Public Utilities Commission.
President Wickremesinghe has also instructed that an estimate be obtained from an independent evaluator.
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 case of the reservoir’s water level running alarmingly low, the entire province will have to experience hours of power-cuts.