CEB engineers refuse to give in to Indian demands Proposed Sampur coal-fired power plant
Posted on August 3rd, 2013

By Ifham Nizam Courtesy Island

Despite Power and Energy Minister Pavithradevi Wanniarachchi and Ministry Secretary M. M. C. Ferdinando giving assurances that work on the much delayed second coal-fired power plant, for the country, at Sampur, would go ahead, a section of the engineers are adamant not to give into the demands of neighbouring giant, India, until crucial technicalities have been ironed out.

The Indian government’s National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) was out to get the maximum our of the proposed 500 MW coal powered plant in Trincomalee, but the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) would be ready to give only a minimum of its requests, a high ranking official of the Board said.

CEB General Manager, Senior Electrical Engineer, F. K. Mohideen told The Island that they had invited NTPC officials to sign documents on the Sampur project, following the recent legal clearance given by the Attorney General’s Department to go ahead with the much-delayed proposed 500MW coal fired power plant at Sampur, Trincomalee. However, the Indian counterpart had not responded to the Board’s request to date.

He said that though it usually took some time for such signing of agreements, the CEB would not simply sign until it was satisfied that the agreements were acceptable. NTPC was asking for the maximum benefits, but they could not simply compromise their own interests, he added.

The senior engineer also said that as there was a hue and cry following the recent documentation exchanged by both parties, thus, the CEB would be extremely cautious when it came to signing the agreement.

Some senior engineers however said that the Sampur project should go ahead without further delay. A senior member of the CEB Engineers’ Union said that General Manager was to be retired soon and therefore he did not want to push the deal.

Power and Energy Ministry Secretary M. M. C. Ferdinando last week told The Island that there was no misunderstanding between the governments of India and Sri Lanka, but there remained “ƒ”¹…”wording issues’, which needed to be ironed out by the CEB engineers and the joint venture partner, the NTPC of India.

There were certain clauses in the recommendations which needed to be studied prior to being forwarded to the NTPC, Ferdinando said, noting that the project would certainly favour India more than Sri Lanka and even the quality of the proposed plant might not be as good as the first coal-fired plant at Norochcholai. However, he said, if the plant was delayed the country might have to impose power cuts.

Meanwhile, The Island reliably learns that the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), the energy sector’s regulatory authority, is planning to request the CEB to submit a copy of the power purchasing agreement and other documents relating to the proposed project, prior to giving the go ahead for the construction of the plant.

Despite claims by energy sector officials that Sri Lanka would lose between Rs. 10 to 14 billion annually, due to the alleged unfair power purchase agreement, the Indian joint venture partner, the NTPC was insisting that the government go ahead with the controversial PPA for the 500 MW plant.

The NTPC and CEB, on Sept. 5, 2011, signed the joint venture and shareholder agreement to set up a USD 500 million 500 MW (2X250 MW) coal power station at Sampur.

Responding to a question on the matter, Indian High Commission, Press Information Officer in Charge, Birendera Singh Yadav said that if they did not come back during the day, that reaction should be taken as no comment on the matter. He didn’t call back.

2 Responses to “CEB engineers refuse to give in to Indian demands Proposed Sampur coal-fired power plant”

  1. Fran Diaz Says:

    We read an article in these columns that substandard coal is to be imported from India. This really needs looking into before Lanka starts having environmental issues due to ‘bad coal’. Our water table is polluted enough resulting from poor use of imported fertilizers, insecticides & herbicides resulting in chronic kidney disease (CKD) for many thousands.

    Is India using Sri Lanka to dump substandard goods ? We were forced to buy substandard radar equipment during the war.
    And it would be nice if India took back her illegal migrants as well.

  2. jayasiri Says:

    WHY ALL this rush, will anybody beleive that opening another WHITE ELEPHANT like other Indian projects & interferences in Lankan affairs, have created enough problems to us. Our profressionals have gone through & advised NOT to proceed with the project UNLESS we have assurances from India. NOT that it matters much, NO SOONER India flexes its muscle, our leader will cave in.. That has been the problem with our leaders.

    Most of them are un-educated political hacks who jump from one party to another & ultimately the country suffers.

    BY INDIANS being in Lanka, is in itself is a polutable burden to our communitiess. IF substandard COAL which INDIIA wants dump in Sri Lanka, this is an ideal oppotunity for them. WE MUST ALWAYS be hesitent with Indian advice / AID or EVEN TRADE.

    I would be happy if trade STOPS completely so that we can find other countries who will participate in our economy THAN INDIA. Apart from all that, Trico is a very strategic area, when we consider our soverienity ?.WHY such nimportant area be given to INDIA, so that India can SNOOP & create problems for our security?.

    These are projects that should be BUILT by OTHER Countries EXCEPT India. Indians know how to delay signing JUST to give our political leaders jitters. They are watching how we react & then attack when we are so vulnerable.

    WE can WRITE till cows come home, BUT if our leaders are NOT patriots they look for just few more of governing NOT to help the country BUT help themselves.

    Most professionals would agree we NEVER should allow INDIA to dictate terns even a project that is somewhat important to us. Chamika or somone has ADVICED AGAINST THIS project going ahead as it is ALREADY exceeded the preliminary costs. Even if it is built, maintsining it is NOT PROFITABLE according to many Lankan Engineers & even some Govt. party ministers. SO WHY GO AHEAD with this project in such a hurry??

    We all should demand more TRANSPARENCY before Lankan enginers allow or approve this project….Thank you all.
    Asusual another expat….mouthing off, before some more dissters happen to our Mother Lanka…….J

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