Minister of Power, Energy and Business Development Ravi Karunanayake yesterday promised to provide a permanent solution to the country’s crippling power crisis before the next Vesak Full Moon Poya Day in May.
In his concluding remarks at the Committee Stage debate on the Expenditure Head of his Ministry, Karunanayake claimed that he and officials at his Ministry were taking urgent measures to resolve the power crisis, but that they were hampered by a number of factors.
He said that they could not obtain water to generate hydro-power, even from reservoirs like Randenigala, which was currently at 91 percent capacity. Shortage of funds for the Ministry, the amount of money used to purchase fuel for thermal power plants, legal impediments and the long-standing dispute between the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) and the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) were among the factors cited by the Minister as obstacles in the path to resolving the crisis.
Minister Karunanayake also took aim at one of his own Cabinet colleagues, whom he refused to name, accusing him of obstructing attempts to purchase emergency power. “He has gone and complained to the Commission of Inquiry (investigating fraud and corruption) and our officials have now become frightened. Where is our unity if our own Cabinet colleagues are acting this way?”
The Minister said measures they are taking would ensure that there would be no power interruptions during the Sinhala and Tamil New Year.
“If we are allowed to obtain water from hydropower reservoirs, then there won’t be any power cuts even after that. Even if we don’t get the water, power cuts will not last beyond 10 days after the New Year,” he said.
He also pledged not to leave the power crisis to another Power and Energy Minister. “I won’t pass this over to another Minister,” he said.
(Source: The Island – By Saman Indrajith)