Posted on July 9th, 2013

H.D.N.C.Pathirana Former Deputy Director Geological Survey Sri- Lanka

India is already having problems with shortage of coal to run their own coal power plants. It is intriguing why they have gone to other countries to installed coal power projects .As a professional in this field I am aware that the coal fields in India have a high ash content compared to other coal fields in the world. Therefore Sri Lanka should think twice before taking a final decision because of high ash content results in very high pollution .The Indian coal plants with high ash content emit more smoke which consists of carbon dioxide carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide to the atmosphere. These gasses ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ spread mixers freely ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ inƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  the sky and have adverse impacts on the environment .A study released in march estimated smoke pouring from IndiaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s power plants has kill up to 120.000 people annually (Mc.Kibban 2013)

The coal power plants have a disastrous effects to the environment results global warming, it is has been accepted as a fact by all scientists all over the world. Environmentalists and scientists protested many years against coal power for energy but they are at the receiving end as politicians take decisions, This is why 2009 Copenhagen on global warming collapsed with no decisions.

Coal provides 30.3% of primary energy needs and generates 42% of the world energy electricity. Coal is a major fuel used in generating electricity in the world. Australia and Indonesia are the largest exporters of coal in the world. Since India has a shortage of coal in their own consumption India imports 105 metric tons of coal according to the year 2011 statistics from other countries such as Indonesia and Australia

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ How is Sri- Lanka going to run its coal power plants if there is a short supply of coal from India? ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ INDIA TO DAY news paper ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 25/06/2013 gave a good account on how the Cabinet Sub Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has now permitted Coal India Limited (CIL) to import coal to make up for the shortfall in domestic availability. Coal India Chairman and Managing Director S.NarasingRao spoke to K.R. Balasubramanyam on coal availability and how he plans to address the shortage

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ A paper written by expert to Frontline India vol. 22 gave the following analysis on Indian coal.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The most significant characteristic of Indian coal is its high ash content, which varies from 35 to 45 per cent, compared with that of coal in other parts of the world, which is around 15 per cent.

With legislation requiring, since June 2001,thermal power plants to use coal with less than 35 per cent ash content, and with the quality of Indian coal deteriorating over the years, development of more efficient technologies that can handle high-ash Indian coal, such as Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle, becomes important

Besides high ash content, another reason for entrained gasifiers (that operate at higher temperatures than fluidised bed gasifiers), commonly used in IGCC plants abroad, being not suitable for Indian coal is its high ash fusion temperature of about 1,500{+0}C.

The ash chemistry of Indian coal is such that it is high in silica and alumina. The ash is also highly abrasive because of high quartz content, which can lead to erosion of the syngas cooling system

Minister Ranawaka said he was aware that the figures relating to technical parameters such as heat rateƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ and ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”O&M costsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ could not be discussed and agreed, before the completion of the Feasibility Study conducted by the Indian NTPC Company. However, some officers in the CEB and the Ministry had agreed with the Indian NTPC Company on ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”heat rate valueƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ and ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”O&M costs valueƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ even before submitting the Feasibility Study Report (FSR).

In view of the importance of the issues raised by the CEB, Minister Ranawaka had apprised President Mahinda Rajapaksa of these facts by a letter dated 20-09-2012. Through that letter, he had informed the President about the unprofessional way of handling the Sampur power project and had told him that it may lead to diplomatic level issues with our neighbour- India. As the situation deteriorated further, Minister Ranawaka had sent another letter to the President on January 1, 2013, highlighting the issues associated with the Sampur Power Project

Village Sampur located south to the Trincomalle and it is in the north east of Sri-Lanka separated by a large bay with sea. The village Sampur was once a military base of the LTTE firing rockets to the Navy military camp. Why did the LTTE use this place? Obviously for strategic interests and is to keep an eye on movements of ships entering the Trincomalle harbour. It is not a figment of imagination that the place was carefully chosen by India for strategic political reasons,

To day the time has come as Srilankans to take right decsions both technically and politically to secure the long term interest of the country. We should not give it to the demands of vested interests that undermine the national interests from what ever quarter the demands come


India today News paper Magazine. Dated 2013 June.

R Ramachandran 2008 Volume 22. Frontline.India

Ranawaka Champika 2013/ 06 / 30 Sunday times/lk Sampur power project

Mc. Kibban June 2013 the



  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Endia getting Trinco!

    To transport coal Endian ships will be used. AT ANY TIME many Endian ships will be in Trinco!!!

    SCRAP this useless coal project. No one goes for coal these days.

  2. Fran Diaz Says:

    Why use polluting Coal for electricity generation when we can use clean Solar Energy & Wind Power, and even Sea Wave power as suggested by late Arthur Clarke ?

    Various countries will unload unsuitable technologies and goods on unguarded Sri Lanka. Our politicians need to be advised properly re these matters. A permanent Science Advisory Committee for the Parliament (not just GoSL) should be appointed without delay, and this Committee held responsible to guide the country to safe energy, monitoring of pollution of air & water, etc. Needless to say, corruption cannot be tolerated when the health of the country is at stake.

  3. Fran Diaz Says:

    We are aware that a Solar power plant does exist in Hambanthota. We wish every District had one too, and wind power plants added on.

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