COLOMBO (News 1st) – Several protests were held today (March 31) against the ongoing electricity crisis.
A demonstration was staged today (March 31) at the Haldummulla, Halatuthenna junction against the prevailing power crisis.
Residents of the area as well as politicians representing the opposition participated in the demonstration. The demonstrators took to the streets along with their household electrical equipment.
Meanwhile, residents of the Weeraketiya, Megashare area staged another demonstration last evening (March 30).
Minister of Megapolis and Western Development, Patali Champika Ranawaka noted that the Ministry of Power of the current government and the cabinet should take the responsibility of the crisis.
Minister Kabir Hashim stated that a proposal has been submitted to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, requesting the supply of furnace oil at a lower price as more people could resort to generators and ease up the power crisis.
However, the Ceylon Today reported that Minister of Power, Renewable Energy and Business Development Ravi Karunanayake is planning to purchase low-cost furnace oil from Lanka IOC, instead of standard furnace oil from the CPC, for furnace oil power plants of the CEB.
Ceylon Today quoting a top official of the CPC noted since CPC profits enormously from selling furnace oil if such a decision is made, it will face a severe crisis.
The government has also focused its attention to purchase emergency power from the private sector, with the approval of the Public Utilities Commission.
Sulakshana Jayawardena, media spokesperson to the Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy noted that despite the procurement process to set up a 100-megawatt supplementary power capacity to the system had been completed they have failed to combine it to the national grid. He finally noted that they also have plans to purchase 51 megawatts from the Asian Power power plant, and 24 megawatts from S power plant.
Wasantha Samarasinghe, Convener to the Voice against Corruption noted that in reality there is no power crisis and there is the only conflict of ascertaining commissions. He added that a ship is anchored in the harbour with a 100-megawatt generator which should have been brought before the crisis not after the crisis. He added that they waited till the crisis occurred so it was not necessary to call for tenders and the government would have to pay the price the supplier demands which is, in this case, is Rs. 50 per unit. He noted that this strategy would help them ascertain a bigger cut for their pockets.
He noted that in 2018 CEB suffered a loss of Rs. 109bn and he stated that the budget only allocates Rs.100bn for education to imply the gravity of the loss. He went on to say that a government should have a strategy to construct power plants according to the consumer demand and Sri Lanka was to construct three power plants in 2019 and none have so far been constructed. He added that it was cynical that educated engineers at CEB pray for rain instead of looking for practical solutions. He added that at least the government should have consulted the Asian Development Bank as they approve loans for solar power plants. He finally noted that in the end, the public suffers from the misdoings of the rulers.
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